In December 2020, Save Our Hills was formed to campaign against the further spread of windfarms across Scotland. They revealed their objectives through an exclusive news story and opinion piece in one of Scotland's biggest-selling newspapers, the Mail on Sunday.
The group has called on the Scottish Government to take a stand against the large-scale windfarms (section 36 applications) which go straight to ministers for a decision. As of the end of January, there were 11 such applications awaiting a decision.
The "hypocrisy" at the heart of government planning was also exposed by the group, after it emerged millions of trees have been cut down in Scotland to make way for windfarm development.
The group wrote to all political parties ahead of the 2021 Holyrood election asking them to stand up for Scotland's landscape in the face of mass windfarm development.
In Dumfries and Galloway, locals were growing tired of incidents linked to the building and maintenance of windfarms, such as this incident highlighted by Save Our Hills in the Galloway News.
The vast majority of new windfarm applications being considered by the Scottish Government are from non-Scottish firms. Save Our Hills , who uncovered the information through FoI, said it scotched the myth that Scotland stood to gain economically from mass windfarm development. To read the full story, visit: www.heraldscotland.com/news/19224828.scots-companies-planning-major-renewables-projects-far-...
Responding to party manifestos and think-tank reports which place onshore wind at the heart of recovery plans, Save Our Hills had this warning in the Times. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/talk-of-wind-farms-benefiting-locals-is-just-a-lot-of-hot-air-vfz...
It's not just local people and businesses who are concerned about the impact of windfarms, Save Our Hills learned, heritage bodies are too.
Across a 1200 word piece in the Mail on Sunday in July, the group said Scotland's planning system must be changed to give communities a "determinative" vote on future onshore windfarm bids.
Campaigners in Dumfries and Galloway were becoming increasingly concerned about one local application, Mochrum Fell, where the council had run out of time to make a decision. As a result, an automatic - or "deemed" - refusal was issued. That allows the company to appeal straight to the Scottish Government to make a decision, bypassing local democracy. Further research revealed this has happened dozens of times in Scotland over the years.
The story was accompanied by an opinion piece by Iain Milligan on the wider issues of onshore windfarms and the drive to net zero.
Further research we carried out for Save Our Hills showed government agencies were making vast amounts of money by renting their land to windfarms.