I am an objector to the Spittal Hill wind farm. Not a NIMBY, not a scaremonger, not a nit-picker. Just an ordinary resident of the area who knows, from personal observation and the experience of others forced to endure life close to a wind farm, that I am among those who will be most affected by the presence of this industrial development.
If the application was for one hundred small individual wind turbines, to serve the individuals within the community or the inhabitants of the local villages, I, and probably every other objector, would applaud both the financial and the environmental benefits.
It is not.
Spittal Hill wind farm is an industrial development to produce power for profit. The power will be sold by the company producing it and the profit pocketed by the company owning it. The profit will be great and the company slice of the cake will be very large. The company will then throw the crumbs in the form of community benefits to those who live in the area.
These are the people who will see what the company already know – that structures of great size, positioned on elevated ground lacking any natural feature to mitigate their impact, will dominate the surrounding landscape. These are the people who live near and in some cases right under it who will never be able to ignore its presence.
These are the people who will endure the noise produced. Yes, there is noise: low-frequency, constant, set-your-teeth-on-edge, shorten-your-temper, keep-you-awake, no-escape-from-it noise. Ask those who live on the Causewaymire.
These are the people who will be most exposed to “flicker nuisance” – a soft label to hide the truth. This flicker has the same effect on the susceptible as strobe lighting. Even television programmes must give warning of this flicker effect. It can induce seizure, cause headaches, cause loss of concentration in drivers. It is too late after the event to discover that the man driving the truck was epileptic if the accident has resulted in loss of life.
These are the people who, if they find out too late that they cannot live close to this industrial development, will probably also discover that their houses are devalued and they cannot find a buyer. Will the community benefits trust make them a grant to enable them to move?
These are the people who are being asked to support the profit-making venture of a company fronted within the county by the ultimate NIMBY. Spittal Hill wind farm will not be in his back yard. It will be in theirs.
Wake up, folks. Smell the manure before it closes over your heads.
Mrs A.L. Cumming, Corsback Cottage, Gillock, by Watten.
27 June 2007
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