Farce is the word! Richard Cross hit the nail on the head in his excellent letter (Beyond Belief, November 2). The Nigg Hill wind farm project grows daily more bizarre.
The Environmental Impact Assessment is the biggest farce of all. This is the developer’s documented evidence that damage to the surrounding area of a project will be minimal.
Of course it will be minimal! Developers employ people, at vast expense, to confirm how laughably trivial any damage will be, and since whoever pays the piper calls the tune, we can all hazard a safe guess as to the outcome. No rare and wonderful animal is likely to stop a vast money-making project like a wind farm. It is more likely to have its neck wrung, last of its species though it may be.
Already, Nigg residents have been informed that although 12,000 geese fly over, circle round, and forage on Nigg Hill, not one of them is remotely interested in going near the designated site. Amazing. The ospreys seen and recorded flying at the top of the hill are equally obliging. They wouldn’t touch the site with a barge pole, and probably said so. Even the ever-increasing number of flying pigs spotted on the hill make a point of avoiding it.
Will a planning committee really accept this? Nobody else does.
Agents for the developers profess to be keen to work with the local community, and stress that they have held two exhibitions. They haven’t. They had one exhibition and presented it twice. Unfortunately it lacked quality, quantity and accuracy, and did nothing to dispel local fears. The much hyped, state of the art, you-are-here roadshow failed to produce the one view everybody wanted to see – the turbines from Chapelhill, less than two kilometres away. Nor was any reason for this omission provided. Could it have been calculated? If so, why?
The exhibition was dismantled and removed in under 10 minutes – I timed it. Without a doubt, the highlight of the evening was the line-up of flashy, gas-guzzling vehicles in which the exhibitors noisily departed. Surprising, for people who profess to be environmentally concerned. The local residents simply weren’t worth a little more effort.
Nigg Community Council has since requested a scale model of the project. It was a reasonable request, and would be the perfect way to display the turbines in relation to the landscape and housing with no ambiguity whatsoever. It would be superior in every way to the misleading computer generated images seen at the exhibition. As yet, no model has been provided.
The developer, interestingly, has insisted that there are no government guidelines here or in other countries, governing distance from habitations.
This statement is puerile. It conjures up an image of a smart-alec child, caught thieving from the family sweetie jar, and pleading that nobody had told him not to help himself.
Day to day living at such close proximity can only be hell, by any standard. It is a hell further exacerbated by the sure knowledge that a property will only sell at a vast loss, if at all. In the case of Nigg Hill, 30 households could be trapped for 25 years, or seriously affected financially. People could be driven away from an area where they chose to live, considerably impoverished.
Should this be permitted?
Our friendly developer however, so keen to work with the community, has also failed to produce an independent surveyor’s report on house prices.
The most outrageous aspect of this proposal however, is the obvious visual impact. The developer’s claim that Nigg Yard and the oil rigs in the Cromarty Firth render the area ‘industrial’ is feeble, tired, and done to death. It is also puerile. Nigg residents heard this yawn from Shell Wind Energy when they were considering a development on Nigg Hill. They subsequently withdrew. Without a doubt the same yawn has been pitched to the previous developers whom we know to have been approached, but were not interested. It is at best a pathetic and at worst, slightly desperate claim.
Very few Nigg residents live within sight of Nigg Yard, and fewer still within sight of the oil rigs. The number of rigs fluctuates constantly, and they are only in the Cromarty Firth because they are resting and redundant. Industry? Redundant oil rigs? All they provide is a healthy sum to the Port Authority.
Cromarty residents continue to work towards Heritage status for their town. An outcrop of vast turbines on top of Nigg Hill would amount to a desecration of a historic landmark.
Claire Grant, Pitcalnie House, Nigg.
9 November 2007
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