Proposals to build Scotland’s first urban windfarm have blown up a storm of protest from city dwellers living near the planned site.
Previously, only country residents have been affected by the “rush to renewables” which has seen turbines sprouting among some of Scotland’s most iconic hills and glens.
Now, however, the renewable energy company Partnerships for Renewables (PfR) have submitted plans for a windfarm at a former landfill site at Forthbank in Alloa, Clackmannanshire.
Its four proposed turbines would stand 125 metres tall, around twice the height of the nearby Wallace Monument.
But objectors said the site, on the north bank of the River Forth, falls well within the two kilometre buffer zone recommended by the Scottish Government and have expressed concerns over noise, health issues and a detrimental effect on their quality of life.
Around 1000 homes as well as schools are located within two kilometres, along with several designated conservation areas, scheduled ancient monuments and archaeological sites.
Campaigners fear spectacular views to and from the Ochil Hills will be spoilt, and claim their lives may be made a misery by noise and shadow flicker from the turbines. They also fear house prices close to the turbines will subsequently fall.
The Scottish Government’s planning policy relating to windfarms says local authorities should consider the historic environment; areas designated for their regional and local landscape or natural heritage value; tourism and recreation interests; and the likely impacts on communities, including long term and significant impact on amenity.
It adds: “A separation distance of up to two kilometres between areas of search and the edge of cities, towns and villages is recommended to guide developments to the most appropriate sites and to reduce visual impact, but decisions on individual developments should take in to account specific local circumstances and geography.”
Archaeologist Lorna Main, who lives at Dunmore, directly across the river from the proposed development, and represents the local village association, said: “Many people don’t realise just how huge these turbines will be. They see them on distant hillsides and they look small when in actual fact they are simply far away.
“These turbines will be 125 metres tall. There will be a significant noise impact and also shadow flicker from the blades as they turn.
“There are around 1000 houses within two kilometres of this proposed windfarm in Alloa, Clackmannan and across the River Forth at South Alloa and Dunmore from where they will dominate the skyline before the Ochil Hills.
“It is unheard of to have a windfarm so close to a town. It would be the first of its kind in Scotland.
“And the turbines will be seen from miles around.
“They will be visible from as far as Cumbernauld and all across the Ochils, shattering the high quality landscape.
“They will also spoil the views from historic monuments like Alloa Tower.
“It’s just the wrong site.”
Clackmannanshire Council, who own the site, was approached by PfR in May 2008 regarding possible locations for wind turbines.
If the proposal goes ahead, the council stands to generate millions of pounds through the lease of the land as well as potentially lower electricity costs.
Clackmannanshire Council also concluded that, if completed, “the project would contribute to reducing its carbon footprint, produce outputs from a redundant landfill site and provide an element of income with no financial investment required.”
Local residents have posted objections on the council’s website. One, Mr Robert Bogan, wrote: “I believe in the importance of renewable energy but it seems illogical to site these wind turbines in a populated area when there is so much more space for these machines where the impact will be less intrusive to local residents.”
Earlier this year, campaigners were successful in blocking a windfarm with 120 metre high turbines at Saline in Fife, after they claimed around 200 homes would be affected by noise and the possibility that the aerodynamic modulation produced by the turbines would disturb sleep patterns of people living nearby.
Another Alloa objector, Mrs Sheila Travers posted: “Clackmannan Council objected to the NW Saline Wind Farm on the grounds that it and associated cable works would affect properties in Clackmannanshire. How can they now, just because they have a financial vested interest in this application, think it is a good idea to erect 125m turbines so close to housing.
“There are at least 800 houses within 2Km of them. This totally contravenes the Scottish Government’s guidelines that no residential properties should be closer than 2KM. Additionally there are at least 100 of these properties within 1Km of a turbine.
“These turbines will seriously affect the health of nearby residents of Alloa and Dunmore through audible noise and sub-audible aerodynamic modulation which leads to sleep deprivation and tinnitis in susceptible people.
“It is a totally unacceptable urban wind farm. Clackmannanshire Council is in it for profit and not for the good of the community. Anyone in a house within the 2Km radius should be extremely worried for the well-being of their whole family if this is given permission.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding