It is with dismay that I read in your paper last week that the planning application for five 2-megawatt (mw) Wind Turbines on the Hill of Nigg has been lodged by Falck Renewables Limited, and that we have only 28 days (deadline Friday, March 7) to register our comments.
My wife and I came to Nigg, just over seven years ago, drawn mainly by the peacefulness, wonderful countryside and unspoilt views. These are now under severe threat from the landowners and the developers, who both seem to have no interest in the beauty, tranquillity and cultural heritage of the area when balanced against financial gain. We are not against renewable energy, but it must be consistent and efficiently produced, and it must take into account the effect on the local landscape and community – this proposal definitely does not.
The five, 2-2.5 mw turbines are each 125 metres high (410 feet) which is one-and-a-half times the height of Big Ben and the blades are each 45 metres in length, which gives a turning circle diameter of over 90 metres. That is like Big Ben being spun from it’s centre. These five monstrosities will sit on top of the Hill of Nigg being seen from every direction as far as the eye can see.
The developers continually quote in their publicity, planning application, environmental study and supporting documents (over 800 pages in total) that the turbines are four kilometres (km) away from Balintore, giving the misguided impression (to those who do not dig deeper or do not have local knowledge) that Balintore is the closest site of human habitation.
In fact the truth is that there are inhabited dwellings much closer with one within one km, 34 within two km, 72 within three km and 76 within four km. These locations which include Nigg, Shandwick and Chapelhill amount to over 183 households and have a population of over 360. These people’s interests are virtually ignored in Falck’s submission.
According to new Industry Figures (quoted from an article in the Sunday Times, January 27) a typical 2mw wind turbine annually produces £200,000 of saleable electricity and attracts £300,000 of Tax payers money from the Government. This amounts to an annual income of £.5million per turbine multiplied by five turbines which amounts to £2.5million annually. Over the lifetime of the turbines (said to be 25 years) this amounts to £62.5million less £10million to construct the turbines which leaves £52.5million going to the landowners and the developers of which £37.5million is taxpayers’ money.
This is the real reason for the development and it has precious little to do with saving the environment and has nothing to do with helping the local community. All this to line the pockets of the few.
I urge all the community to please say resounding no! to this development by writing to The Highland District Council, Planning Standards Manager, 2 Achany Road, Dingwall, IV15 9JB quoting reference 08/00066/FULRC and expressing your concerns. Remember this is the one and only chance we have to object and every letter counts.
The last date to put letters in by post is Wednesday, March 5 less than three weeks time. If anyone wishes to find out more or discuss the proposal in more detail they should go along to the Nigg and Shandwick Community Council Presentation at Nigg Community Hall on Saturday and Sunday, February 23 and 24 between 2pm and 6pm.
John Waring, The Old Post Office House, Pitcalnie, Nigg.
15 February 2008
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