June 1, 2011

Tempers flare over turbines

By Graham Crawford, Banffshire Journal, www.banffshire-journal.co.uk 31 May 2011

Plans by a community trust to generate cash through two wind turbines may be up in the air after meeting with furious opposition last week.

Banff and Macduff Community Trust was slated by furious Hill of Ord residents after it revealed plans to establish large turbines between Aberchirder and Cornhill.

A consultation held last week to persuade communities of the benefits of the structures went badly wrong when anger escalated over the proposals, submitted by a trust situated nine miles away.

Ian Hardie, trust chairman, came under repeated attack, and was told by one crofter that he should resign.

As reported in last week’s edition of ‘The Banffshire Journal’, that man was racially abused by a stranger after the trust had wrongly publicised a proposed turbine, near Hill of Ord, as being on his land.

The 63-year-old crofter, who is disabled and moved to the area from England 11 years ago, told the paper this week: “I was among a number of people who gave Ian Hardie a hard time.

“I got so annoyed with his inadequate explanations. Eventually my wife and I could take no more and left.”

Another Hill of Ord crofter, Bill Smart, said: “I think everybody from the Hill of Ord was there, but Mr Hardie could not answer half the questions he was asked.

“Everyone in our area is opposed to a turbine being there. The trust is promising a share of the profits for Aberchirder and Cornhill, but what good is that to us?”

Kirsty McFadyen, of West Reidside, Cornhill, said: “We don’t need its money. We want to protect our environment, our quality of life and our outlooks.

“This consultation was unable to give us any specific information, and a lack of information leads to frustration and anger.

“We were not told the exact position, height or access. We were told these had not been decided.

“People in Banff and Macduff I have spoken to are also not in agreement about the trust going outwith its own community to do this.”

Following the gaffe over the proposed location of the Hill of Ord turbine, Mr Hardie and Rae McGookin, of New Croft, the landowner on whose ground the structure would be placed, were forced last week to insist that there had been “no intention to deceive” on their part.

After last Tuesday’s consultation, held in the Green Tree CafĂ© in Banff, the ‘Journal’ was told by a source that the trust was now reconsidering its plans following the intense opposition from Hill of Ord residents.

Last Thursday morning, when the paper sought clarity from Mr Hardie, he asked for any questions to be put to the trust by e-mail.

The paper asked how the trust intended to proceed regarding its turbine proposals.

By the time the paper went to press yesterday, however, no reply had been received.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/06/01/tempers-flare-over-turbines/