Campaigners in Scotland are calling for a full, independent investigation into allegations that wind farms are contaminating water supplies across large areas of Scotland.
They have written to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Energy Secretary Amber Rudd calling for an immediate halt on all wind farm development north of the border until the government can guarantee safe drinking water for everyone.
The problem first came to light when residents living near Europe’s largest wind farm, the 215 turbine Whitelee farm in Ayrshire, began to suffer from diarrhoea and severe vomiting. Tipped off by an NHS report which mentioned that difficulties in treating the water supply may pose health risks, local resident Dr Rachel Connor, a retired clinical radiologist, started digging into the council’s water testing results.
She found that, between May 2010 and April 2013, high readings of E.coli and other coliform bacteria had been recorded. In addition, readings of the chemical trihalomethane (THM), linked to various cancers, still births and miscarriages, were way beyond safe limits.
Scottish Power, who run the wind farm, denied causing the pollution but admitted that they hadn’t warned residents that their water supplies may be contaminated.
Speaking to the Daily Record she explained: “I obtained test results in 2013 from East Ayrshire Council and discovered that our water had been grossly contaminated with E.coli bacteria.
“That was bad enough but I am far more concerned about the presence of THMs in the public supply.
“We are drinking the stuff now but all the medical advice is that the effects may not be seen for 10 or 20 years.
She added: “I would expect this likely contamination of drinking water must be happening all over Scotland. If there is not an actual cover-up, then there is probably complacency to the point of negligence by developers and statutory authorities.”
THMs are formed when chlorine, which is added to the water supply, react with organic particles in the water. Anti-wind farm campaigners explain that the construction of wind farms in Scotland tends to involve the disturbance of vast areas of peatlands which dumps huge quantities of carbon into water sources.
Susan Crosthwaite is one such campaigner. An award winning chef, she runs a bed and breakfast business located within the UNESCO designated Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. Her guests travel from far and wide to take in stunning sea views and natural landscapes, but all that is being threatened by what she describes as “the SNP’s obsession with carpeting our landscape with more wind farms”. The Scottish government has committed to generating 100 percent of Scotland’s energy from renewables by 2020.
She admitted to Breitbart London that there is great irony in the fact that fracking is not going ahead in large part due to unfounded fears over contamination of water sources, while at the same time green zealots seem more than happy to cover Scotland in a sea of turbines despite good evidence that they actually do contaminate those same water sources.
“People wonder how wind farms can possibly contaminate our water,” she said.
“Firstly, most are constructed on areas of unspoilt moss, heather and deep peat, often with associated forestry. Construction vehicles churn up the ground to make access roads and clear the forests – approximately 3 million trees were cleared at Whitelee. Trees are pulled up, and the churned up peat is washed into the river systems by heavy rain, releasing excessive carbon which the water treatment works are not able to deal with.
“The construction teams then blast quarries and ‘borrow-pits’ to provide rock foundations for access roads and turbine bases – six quarries with 85 articulated dump lorries ferried almost 6 million tons of excavated rock around the Whitelee site for roads and turbine foundations. These excavations allow access to the numerous faults and dykes which crisscross Scotland and act as conduits for ground water. Chemical and diesel spills, therefore, have an immediate channel to the aquifer.
“It is also a great irony that anti-fracking campaigners make spurious claims about potential water pollution and then support the construction on industrial wind turbines, which are demonstrably causing widespread pollution to our water supplies in Scotland.”
Mrs Crosthwaite has now compiled a comprehensive 115 page dossier detailing not just the contamination caused by various wind farms, but also the lack of response by energy giants or the authorities.
She has attached her dossier to letters seen by Breitbart London, addressed to Scotland’s First Minister and Britain’s Energy Secretary to demand that all wind farm construction cease until a proper investigation has been carried out.
She claims that continuing to develop wind farms constitutes a clear breach of both The EU’s Environmental Liabilities Directive and its Water Frameworks Directive, as the authorities have failed in their legal duty to protect Scotland’s water environment, allowing development to go ahead regardless.
“As Whitelee is Scottish Power Renewable’s flagship windfarm, the credibility of all their windfarm developments is based on the belief that their professed mitigation measures are successfully preventing any water pollution. How can the public be confident that this is the case if they do not constantly and consistently monitor all subsequent developments with results made easily available to the public?” she asked.
Her campaign has gained the support of former Conservative MEP for Scotland, Struan Stevenson, who told Breitbart London: “It is clear from this extensive and well-researched report prepared by Susan Crosthwaite that under pressure from the SNP Government at Holyrood, statutory authorities like SEPA, Scottish Water and Scottish councils, have simply ignored EU environmental legislation designed to protect our water.
“The Environmental Liabilities Directive and the Water Framework Directive have been repeatedly breached in Scotland in the race to erect giant wind turbines and fulfil the SNP’s obsession with turning Scotland into the ‘Saudi Arabia of renewables’.
“Now we have direct evidence that this has led to serious contamination of groundwater in the vicinity of industrial wind farms, causing consequent dangerous pollution to our drinking water.
“It is ironic that the same people who vigorously oppose fracking because they claim it will cause water pollution, enthusiastically support wind farms which demonstrably do cause water pollution, as well as defacing our landscape.
“I would urge the European Commission to take immediate action against the Scottish Government for allowing these serial breaches of EU directives to continue unchallenged.”