- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Autistic boy’s parents fear planned windfarm will harm their son

The parents of a severely autistic boy are forcing a green-energy firm to backtrack on plans to site wind turbines near their Aberdeenshire home.

Marie and Gary Paterson objected to the proposals because they are worried about the impact they would have on their 13-year-old son, Ross.

Turriff-based Muirden Energy has now agreed to look again at its plans for two 150ft turbine towers and consider moving them farther from the couple’s home.

The company said it would “go out of its way” to stop its scheme at Mains of Auchreddie farm, near Ellon, having any adverse impact on local residents.

Mrs Paterson, of Little Flobbets, Drumwhindle, wrote to Aberdeenshire Council after learning that the generators would be sited 1,700ft from her cottage.

The 37 year-old said she became “frightened” after reading about a case in England where a windfarm plan was rejected because of the effect it would have on eight-year-old autistic twins living nearby.

The decision was based on evidence from a consultant clinical psychologist, Dr Susan Stebbings, who said turbines could cause “extreme distress” to people with autism.

Mrs Paterson said Ross, who is at the “far end” of the autism spectrum, had severe sensory issues and hypersensitive hearing.

She said: “The noise may be at a level that most people would not notice, but this may not be the case for my son.

“He often covers his ears and has tantrums after hearing sounds like a drier or the sound of a motor.

“I am not against wind turbines at all – I am not bashing anyone or trying to make their lives difficult – but we have to think about what’s best for our son.”

Ross, a pupil at the St Andrew’s School at Inverurie, requires constant one-on-one attention.

Mrs Paterson said she also feared he might be attracted to the turbines.

“He has no awareness of danger,” she said. “His condition is very complex.

“Life is hard enough for us. If it was made any harder, it would be unimaginable.”

Alex Fowlie, of Muirden Energy, said the company would do everything it could to accommodate the concerns of the Paterson family.

He said: “It is a rare issue. We have never come across it before. We would never look to build anything which we thought would cause problems.

“We are aiming to be sensible developers.”