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Storm brewing over wind turbine proposal  

A company’s plan to reduce their ‘carbon footprint’ has met with the disapproval of residents.

Banking giant HSBC want to erect two 65ft wind turbines at their call centre in Sydes Brae, Hamilton.

However, people living nearby say the masts will be within 100ft of their homes.

They fear the turbines will lead to problems of noise and vibration, and may interfere with electronic equipment such as computers.

Plans for the two turbines have been drawn up by London-based green energy company Quiet Revolution Ltd.

Unlike the usual ‘windmill-type’ turbines, those earmarked for the HSBC site have three blades in a helix arrangement operating around a vertical access.

The proposed masts measure almost 50ft with the 10ft-wide carbon fibre blades adding a further 15ft to the height of the structures.

South Lanarkshire Council said they had not yet received a planning application for the turbines.

However, neighbourhood notification notices outlining the scheme have been issued to at least 10 Sydes Brae residents.

Quiet Revolution have developed their products with the support of two grants from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Their website claims energy efficiency “can be combined with elegance”.

But the remarks failed to impress 40-year-old Elaine Williamson whose home will be closest to the turbines.

Mrs Williamson, a chemist, lives in Sydes Brae with husband Stuart (44) and children Kaitlin (12) and nine-year-old Gabrielle.

She was not against green energy schemes, but said: “Turbines this close mean we will not be able to enjoy our garden.

“Who in their right mind would allow their young children to play outdoors under the threat of half a tonne of constantly whirling metal looming 30 metres above them only a few metres away?

”If this plan goes ahead it could create a precedent in Blantyre.”

Neighbours also had worries about the impact of the turbines on computer connections and satellite reception.

She said the structures were out of keeping with the 100-year-old residential properties in the street, adding: “The most galling thing is that HSBC occupy a huge site and they appear to want to put these turbines as far away from their own buildings as it is possible to get on that site,” she added.

“If the company want to make a green statement, they should place the turbines at the entrance to the site for all to see.”

Neighbour Bridie McKain (47) had similar worries, and added: “If the company are concerned about their carbon footprint, they could try turning some of the lights off.

“They have lots of bright lights on around the car park.

“These lights stay on through the night when most of the staff are not there. Is that necessary?”

A spokesman for HSBC, who employ 2000 staff at the Blantyre site, said the turbines would save “3.2 tonnes of carbon a year”.

He denied that the structures would cause noise, vibration or interference with electronic equipment.

He added: “This is one of a number of our sites around the country where we have an ongoing programme of exploring energy sources and testing new technology.”

They had planned to site the structures nearer to their buildings but had been advised to move them to another location.

The spokesman said the plans were not finalised, and added: “The last thing we want to do is fall out with our neighbours.

“We appreciate people’s concern and will re-visit this proposal.

“We will speak to the developer, the council and now that we are aware of their concerns, our neighbours.”

By John Rowbotham

Hamilton Advertiser

27 March 2008

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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