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Whitelee wind farm causing TV tuning problems

The East Kilbride area is in the midst of a television blackout as thousands of residents struggle to tune in because of the giant Whitelee wind farm.

The News reported back in May that several frustrated viewers in Stewartfield had reported signal failure after their Freeview digital boxes suddenly stopped working.

But the problem is now spreading and residents from as far afield as Calderwood, Carmunnock and Auldhouse are now unable to switch on to their favourite shows.

The recent blackout is being blamed on the 110 metre-high turbines which form the Whitelee wind farm, near Auldhouse. The imposing structures, visible from all over EK, are blocking transmissions from the Darvel transmitter, which provides the signal to thousands of homes across East Kilbride.

And with up to 100 more turbines due to be installed over the next year, some residents fear things will only get worse.

ScottishPower, who own the wind farm, are now sending engineers out to individual homes to try to solve the problem.

Greenhills businessman David Johnston, whose company Omniavision specialises in television aerials, explained: “Everyone I’ve been speaking to seems to have had the same problems and it all coincides with the wind farm being built.

“I’ve had to go round people’s houses to re-position their aerials as it seems impossible to get a signal from Darvel. It looks as though people will have to receive from the Blackhill transmitter instead. This must be affecting thousands of homes.”

East Kilbride South councillor Archie Buchanan also has first-hand experience of the problems.

He said: “At first I just thought my Freeview box had packed in but then more and more people were saying the same thing was happening to them. It needs to be sorted as soon as possible.”

The News has been inundated with calls from people bemoaning the situation and some residents have revealed that they threw away their Freeview boxes – thinking they were faulty – only to later discover it was the actual signal that was the problem.

One woman from Whitehills said: “It was the talk of the bingo when I was last there. It seems everybody’s affected. I’m now onto my third Freeview box because I just presumed the others were no use. But now that I hear it’s this wind farm I may seek some sort of compensation.”

A spokesman for ScottishPower admitted they had been receiving a number of calls regarding the situation.

He added: “Our specialist contractors will investigate all enquiries and, where appropriate, will rectify them as soon as possible.

“Communication with the local community has always been an important part of the Whitelee project and we remain committed to this approach.”

Anyone experiencing problems can contact ScottishPower on 0845 2700798, or by e-mail, whitelee_information@scottishpower.com

Local company Omniavision can be contacted on 07907 685 718, or by e-mail on davidjohnston@omniavision.co.uk

by David Wynn, East Kilbride News

icLanarkshire

23 July 2008