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Wind rush fears blow ill wind say objectors

Hundreds of people turned up to a public meeting in Thornhill on Wednesday to hear about plans for 45-metre high turbines.

Intelligent Land Investments want to put up two turbines on land north-east of West Murdieston, Ballinton Road.

And they have submitted a second application to Stirling Council for a further two turbines at Cuptree Farm land on a site 2km east of Thornhill.

Developers say the proposed turbines are all more than 430 metres from the nearest residential properties and won’t have a detrimental impact on the surrounding countryside.

However, some locals disagree and fear the turbines could be a precedent for a “wind rush” of projects across the area.

Local man Tim Reid said: “We are not against renewable energy, windfarms or the farming community but we are in favour of single wind turbines being sited sensitively.

“By that we mean they should be determined by the scale and form of surrounding development and countryside. The scale of these particular turbines is the issue. They will dominate the landscape and dwarf the houses and mature trees in the surrounding area.

“They will be half the size of those on Braes of Doune but in an undulating, lowland setting these will appear much larger. The wind levels are also marginal and there could be a detrimental effect on birdlife, aviation and tourism.

“Stirling Council needs to act now and put a halt to these speculative applications before it is too late and the rural landscape is spoiled for the next 25 years.

“The new Government-promoted subsidies, called feed-in tariffs or FITS, have been introduced to help meet renewable energy targets. They are paid for by electricity consumers and taxpayers, lead to money-making schemes by financiers and in turn encourage landowners to erect windfarms.”

Mr Reid added: “In tough times like these it is quite understandable that farmers will sign up for contracts of this type. There is absolutely no risk for the farmer, apart from alienating the odd neighbour. It is, however, money for old rope for the developer.

“Our countryside could soon be peppered with wind turbines.”

Mark Wilson, managing director of Intelligent Land Investments, said: “Landowners will benefit and the National Farmers Union are very pro because of the opportunity to allow hundreds of farmers to make some money for the next 20 years.

“This is not about big scale windfarms but medium sized projects (up to 500kw turbine) and can only be 76m high or lower. To get over the visual aspect of this we have gone for two turbines below 50 metres. You can see them but they are not an eyesore by any means.

“Once it gets closer to consent more accurate readings would be taken and if for any reason these indicate this is not financially viable then we would not proceed. However, going by historic readings and all the tests and diligence carried out so far, the indications are that this is a viable project.”