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Balloons will highlight turbine fears

Protesters against wind turbines on north-east farmland will highlight their fears by floating bright balloons about 300ft above the ground.

The campaigners hope the scheme will draw attention to what they called a “bandwagon” of development across Aberdeenshire. George Simpson, of Tulloford Mill, near Haddo Estate, decided to take the unusual action after plans were drawn up by a group of local farmers to build six turbines across fields near the Ythan valley.

The Methlick Farmers group said the income would help diversify their business as agriculture became less profitable. Power would be sold to the national grid under the plans.

Residents living near the proposed cluster were spurred into action against what they saw as creeping industrialisation of the rural landscape.

They successfully lobbied Aberdeenshire councillors for a public hearing, due to be held on Tuesday next week.

Mr Simpson, who tested out the helium-filled balloons yesterday, said: “We’re trying to get the applicants to let us tether lines to two of the sites.

“I want to draw attention to just how tall these things are.”

He also knows local councillors will visit the site ahead of a meeting to determine the applications. Permission has been granted by airport authorities for the balloon stunt, but the applicants are yet to agree.

Mr Simpson, an architect who has lived in the area for 10 years, added: “We have a back-up plan to tether them on land close to one of the sites.

“If the turbines are built it will have a serious effect on our lives and ruin the landscape.”

The Methlick Farmers, John Lind sen, John Lind jun and Ernie Lee, drew up their plans in September last year. They had been due to hear a decision on the plans in April and accused councillors of a “cop out” for setting up the public hearing. The group could not be contacted last night.

The Press and Journal

6 June 2007