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Wind farm could risk lives, claims veteran

A Royal Navy veteran is rallying opposition to a wind farm earmarked to go up beside his home in southeast Caithness.
Tony Draper-Rickards claims the four-turbine development near Latheronwheel would not only be unsightly and noisy but potentially life-threatening.
He said that should it get the go-ahead, he would stop his young daughter going out to play on windy days because of fears about a blade coming loose.
James Sutcliffe’s Bury-based company, Caithness Power Ltd, has just lodged plans to put the turbines on agricultural land at Upper Smerral.
Mr Draper-Rickards (53), of The Schoolhouse, Boultach, is appalled
by the prospect of living just 600 metres from the nearest turbine. Eleven houses lie within 1.5 kilometres of the wind farm site.
He takes issue with the environ¬mental impact assessment which accompanies the firm’s planning application.
He said: “It states that the turbines will be easily absorbed within the landscape. But they are going up right on top of a ridge and even their own pictures show they are going to stick out like a sore thumb.
“Standing some 260 feet high, just the base of a turbine is going to be approximately the same height as my [two-storey] house.”
He said the issue did not just con¬cern residents in the immediate area.
He claims the turbines would significantly affect people in Dunbeath, to the immediate south.
“They would clearly see and hear them and they need to consider putting in an objection. These things are going to be seen for miles.”
Mr Draper-Rickards is similarly unconvinced by assurances that residents will not experience noise nuisance by the operation of the turbines. He also has safety concerns, based on a dossier of accident statistics from around the world.
He said: “They [the developers] claim 600 metres is a perfectly safe distance. Yet, I’ve seen evidence of a blade from a turbine in Germany breaking off and travelling 1300 metres. They say no member of the public has been killed by a turbine in the UK and say the risk is nonexistent, but this is bound to change as more and more wind farms go up.”
Mr Draper-Rickards said he would be concerned to let his daughter, Kristin, go out to play on a windy day if they lived beside a turbine. He urges would-be objectors not to adopt a fatalistic approach.
“Many others have failed to get wind farms stopped and it’s easy to say ‘I’m against it but it’s not going to make any difference so why bother making an objection’.
“It is, however, very important to make your view known.”
The deadline for representations- on the planning proposal is October 8.