Newburgh’s YouTube wind farm war has intensified, with claims of “personal vilification.”
What started as a proposal for three wind turbines at Lindores Farm has descended into a bitter row that has split the community.
Newburgh Community Trust (NCT), who are behind the proposal, took their campaign for the wind farm online with a YouTube video titled Newburgh Community Trust and the Wind Farm.
However, there is a growing campaign against the plans led by actor Jock Ferguson, who lives in the village. Mr Ferguson has made his own YouTube video called Newburgh Community Trust and the Wind Farm Scam, which was viewed more than 200 times just four days after it was posted.
During the film, Mr Ferguson describes the plans for the turbines as a threat to the local landscape. He claims, “The beauty of the town is threatened, not by nature but by a self-elected group of individuals with one agenda – money.
“Lindores Hill is just 200 metres high yet there are highly motivated people who would situate three 100 metre turbines atop it for just one reason – money.
“Having already lost a hill to quarrying, a tiny minority seek to industrialise this local landmark. These people are Newburgh Community Trust – unelected and representing only themselves.”
The film also launches a personal attack on Councillor Andrew Arbuckle. In his voiceover, Mr Ferguson claims there is a conflict of interest and alleges that Mr Arbuckle, who chairs Fife Council’s north east area committee, is not neutral because his neighbour runs the main contractor Ecodyn and he is a “good friend” of the farmer, who would be set to gain financially if the wind farm was given the go-ahead.
Mr Ferguson adds, “NCT are desperate to see this through, to the point of producing a short form for people to sign, pledging support and submitted to Fife Council via Councillor Arbuckle. Nowhere does this form talk of energy, the environment or conservation. It is about money.”
Mr Arbuckle has defended himself on Fife Council’s planning website.
In his “neutral” comment on the plans he stated he has played no part in the decision-making process and could back this up by referring to the minutes of the north-east Fife area committee meeting of May 11.
He said, “I am sorry that some representations on this application are now based on misinformation and personal vilification. This is a site specifically for putting views either for or against the application. If used in this way it is intended to help influence the councillors who will make the decision.
“Because I am chairman of the Newburgh Community Trust I will play no part in the decision. Any inference I have a conflict of interest is incorrect.
“It is also necessary to correct misinformation on the role of Duncan Oswald and Ecodyn. He is a member of NCT but his company won the contract to manage the application through competitive tender. His company does not put up windmills.
“Although it is not part of the planning consideration, there is a legal agreement with the landowner and if the project goes ahead, he will receive a percentage of the income but the much larger share would be for the benefit of those living in the area.
“Please do not let the opportunity to express views on the application degenerate into name calling and mud slinging.”
Around 45 objections and 150 supporting comments could be seen on the council’s online planning portal yesterday.
Emotions have been running high online, with both The Courier website and YouTube inundated with comments.
[videos available at source]