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Balfron in battle against windfarm  

Campaigners have vowed to take “positive action” to stop a windfarm being built in the West Stirlingshire countryside.

A group of villagers in Balfron have set up EVAG (Endrick Valley Action Group).

And they are pledging: “We’ll stop these monster turbines spoiling our counryside.”

The company, npower, announced its hopes to build nine wind turbines on Ballindalloch Muir east of Balfron and south of Buchlyvie last March.

The turbines could be up to 125 metres high and would create power for around 9,500 Scottish homes.

The campaigners say the blade span may be bigger than a jumbo jet and the development will be less than a mile and a half from Balfron itself.

EVAG members are warning that posters they have been putting up around Balfron this week are just the “opening shots” in their battle and that they are preparing to fight a planning application for the nine turbines when it is submitted to Stirling Council.

EVAG secretary Mary Young said: “It would be fair to say that, up till now, npower has had an easy ride on their plans to build these monstrosities on our beautiful countryside. Things are about to change on that front.

“EVAG has been set up to act as a vehicle for the people of Balfron and other surrounding villages, equally affected by the windfarm, to have their voices heard above the spin and slick presentation from npower.”

Among EVAG’s concerns are visual impact on the countryside, the effects of noise – particularly on two local schools and a nursery —, and the threat to wildlife, particularly protected species of rare birds of prey.

They also say property values in the Endrick Valley would plummet because of the turbines.

Mary added: “These nine wind turbines will spoil the natural beauty of the Endrick Valley.

“And members of Balfron Golf Society will get the shock of their lives when they tee off and see these Doctor Who-like monstrosities looming up in front of them as they walk round the course.

“There is also great concern that the health of the local community could be affected by the windfarm especially as Balfron High, Balfron Primary and nursery schools are only 1.3 miles away from the wind farm.

“Even on npower’s own website, they admit on a map that the schools will be affected by the noise from the turbines. This is very worrying because experts have reported in medical studies that the low-frequency noise from wind turbines can cause headaches, nausea, tinnitus and lack of concentration.

“There is also the real threat to wildlife posed by these wind farms. Only a few weeks ago a rare bird of prey – a red kite – was killed when it was struck by the blade of a wind turbine on the Braes of Doune.

“Over the next few weeks our campaign will get into top gear and we will show everyone – especially the councillors who will take the decision whether to allow the windfarm – that npower’s plans are wrong for the Endrick Valley and where they want to build their windfarm.

“Anyone who wants to know more about the effects of the proposed windfarm or wants to help out in our campaign against the wind turbines can contact me by email on YouM522@aol.com or by phone on 01360 441068.”

Npower, however, disagree with the campaigners’ interpretation of the siting and visibility of the turbines.

The company says its windfarms adhere to strict noise limits detailed in local planning conditions, based on DTI noise working group recommendations.

They add that noise monitoring has been undertaken around the Ballindalloch site and they are confident the turbines will not be a nuisance to local residents.

A recent newsletter distributed locally by the company also says independent research in another Scottish site suggested the turbines may have increased rather than decreased property prices.

Ballindalloch Muir project manager Davin Aiken said: “We at npower renewables have developed these plans in consultation with the broad community and will be showing our final draft proposals at exhibitions in Balfron, Buchlyvie and Fintry.

“We have had an encouraging level of support for our plans and we hope this will continue. Focus group meetings held with the local communities have expressed concerns about climate change and the message we got was ‘get on with it’.

“We hope that people will come to the exhibitions at the end of August and see for themselves that the fears expressed by EVAG are without merit.”

Further information about Npower’s proposals and how to become involved in the consultation is available on the website www.npower-renewables.com/ballindalloch/

Stirling Observer

3 August 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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