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 diarrhea 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.