The firm behind a potential windfarm development in the region say they have considerable public support.
PM Renewables are proposing the building of a 22 turbine windfarm at Drone Hill on Coldingham Moor, although their application has been met with some strong opposition.
The main objectors are Coldingham STAG who have cited a number of reasons why they feel the development shouldn’t go ahead.
One of their main reasons for opposing the windfarm is the effect it will have on resident’s day-to-day lives, particularly those living in close proximity to the earmarked site.
This, coupled with what they see as a significant effect to the local tourism industry and the negative repercussions on people’s livelihoods, has led the action group to join forces with Coldingham Community Council and make their feelings clear to Scottish Borders Council, who will ultimately have the final say on whether the windfarm goes ahead.
Over the past few months both Coldingham STAG and PM Renewables have given their sides of the story and their reasons for and against the development and after commissioning an extensive report, PM Renewables believe they have the majority of the public on side.
2collaborate, consultants specialising in community engagement, were commissioned by the developers to provide local residents with a chance to have their say on the proposal before being submitted to Scottish Borders Council.
Director of PM Renewables, Simon Morton said “When feedback on the original proposal showed that we needed to lower the height of the turbines, we asked 2collaborate to go to the community and discuss our revised plan to seek their opinion.
“Their work put them in contact with over 1400 residents through post, telephone surveys and a public meeting over a period of two months.”
A telephone survey of 205 local residents living within a 10km radius of the site was carried out and showed 70 per cent were in support for the wind farm proposal.
Despite whether people approved of the plans or not, the majority of respondents at the public meeting felt there would be no adverse change in local business activity, quality of life, or tourism.
The meeting was held to allow people to get involved in a more in-depth discussion about the development. It involved a broad cross section of the community who were purposefully selected at random and around 60 people attended in total.
Finally, a flyer was distributed to over 1220 homes within 10km of Drone Hill.
As well as presenting important information about PM Renewables’ application it encouraged people to learn more about wind power and included a pre-paid postcard to give people the opportunity to comment further.
Darrin Rooney, fellow director of PM Renewables stated: “We are very pleased with the result of the surveys which are the most comprehensive of the area done to date.
“The public dialogue event involved an innovative two hour workshop with 60 people selected at random which ensured a good cross section of the local community. By coming along and discussing the plans with us, people have made an informed decision.”
Simon Morton continued: “It is not unusual for a minority of people who are opposed to wind farms to dominate the agenda and this survey simply shows that the majority of residents do support wind power as part of the solution to combating climate change, and ensuring security of supply.”
By Simon Duke
19 September 2007
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