In light of the diagnosed climate catastrophe, the University of St Andrews has been taking some significant steps forward to becoming more sustainable. The Kenly Wind Farm, a University led project that aims to build wind turbines a few miles outside of St Andrews, is a huge part in making future progress. However, despite the project being approved in 2013, the application for these wind turbines will expire in March of next year. This momentous project would revolutionise how the University combats climate change but with time running out, what steps are being taken towards re-opening this crucial scheme?
In 2013 planning permission for this project was granted. The project would make a huge dent in the carbon footprint produced by the University. It’s a project that is necessary in the context of our current climate. The turbines would save just under 20,000 tonnes of carbon every year, allowing the University to officially run on completely self-sufficient energy. In addition to benefiting the climate and the University, the turbines would benefit the community by providing sustainable jobs. The undeniable benefits of this project made it possible for planning permission to be granted.
For such a small town, a tool as impactful as this–making our University self-sustainable–would be decisive in doing our part to combat climate change. However, permission was granted in 2013, and here we are, six years later with the expiration date months away. All arrows point to the University having pushed these plans to the back-burner and forgotten about them.
The project did receive a handful of complaints from both the Ministry of Defence as well as the local residents of St Andrews and the surrounding area. The complaints arose not from the intentions of the project but from the location of the power line and the fear of disruption of day to day life.
Yet, if the planning permission expires at the start of next year, the University will have to start the process of getting permission all over again. This could take years that we don’t have. Right now, we are at a war on climate change, we simply do not have the time to waste. We need to make change now. Now is the time to make sure these plans are extended in order insure that our University will have self-sustainable energy.
Climate activism has been somewhat lacking in past years. The student body has a crucial part to play in this challenge. Together, we have a voice which Amnesty St Andrews aims to use, exemplified in their involvement in the climate strike at the beginning of the semester. Amnesty plans to organize demonstrations towards extending the Kenly wind farm permission as part of their work in combating the climate catastrophe.
You can find a petition for extending the application on their Facebook page, and they hope to continue being active in their pursuit of improving the decaying climate. This is the kind of activism that the University–and the planet– requires.
The future is literally in our hands and now we face a ticking clock. As the climate reaches a boiling point and the key to change lies in front of us, we need to move forward. The online petition has approximately 750 signatures, but WE have the power to generate a greater response. If every student signed this petition, we would be able to bring more attention to the Kenly Wind Farm. We, the student body can make crucial changes towards making our University self-sustainable. We need to start now because if not now, then when?