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Mini turbines noise concern

Critics of a proposed new wind farm near Balfron have turned their attention to two small turbines in the grounds of the local high school.

Ian Nicholson and his wife Amanda say from their garden they can hear an “annoying whirring noise” from the mini wind turbines at Balfron High.

But they fear this will be nothing compared to the disturbance from nine 406-feet high turbines planned for Ballindalloch near the village.

Local campaign group EVAG say each of the nine turbines would generate 366 times more electricity than one of the small 6kw school turbines.

Amanda (37) of Balgair Road, said: “One of the things that attracted us to live in Balfron 11 years ago was the peace and quiet, but the noise from the school’s wind turbines takes that away.

“When you are outside you can hear the blades going round. The turbines are intrusive, both for their noise and the sight of them. And they are Mickey Mouse turbines compared to the giant ones planned for Ballindalloch Muir.”

Husband Ian (43) said: “It’s a constant sound of whirring and that’s when they are brand new. What’s it going to be like when they are older and the motors start to wear?

“If it were kids making that noise all the time they would get an ASBO.

“We weren’t even informed the turbines were going to be erected in the school grounds.

“When I first heard about the proposed wind farm at Ballindalloch I was in favour of it – but not now.”

EVAG chairman Gordon Adams said: “I can totally sympathise with the people living in Balgair Road. If the small turbines at the school are causing a problem, people will get a real shock when they see what’s planned for a bit further up the valley.”

A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “We are very surprised by Mr and Mrs Nicholson’s claims there is a lot of noise coming from the small turbines within the school grounds. The Proven 6kw turbines were selected partly because of their low noise output. Research carried out prior to purchase and installation suggested these are some of the quietest turbines on the market.

“They probably have one of the lowest blade tip speeds of modern small turbines, minimising sound. The swish of the blades turning in the wind should be virtually unnoticeable compared with background noise.

“The school’s S6 pupils carried out a local community consultation, visiting those houses that look onto the site. They spoke to a few of the residents and no objections were raised. Where residents were not in the pupils left flyers and no residents have since contacted the school with objections.

“The aim of this project was to incorporate an appropriate form of renewable energy in to the high school’s system. A second, ongoing aim is to become more energy efficient within the school by installing energy saving devices.

“The turbines will be used as a very important educational tool. This will stem from the turbines and data that they can provide – not only for the 1000’s of pupils who pass through the school, but also for the local community users of the school facilities.

“The turbines are part of a large number of eco-projects in the school which have had a dramatic impact on students in terms of awareness of ecological issues and direct participation in environmental activities.”

Stirling Observer

28 September 2007