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Petition against turbine proposal

Opposition is growing to GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) £8 million proposal to site two 400-foot wind turbines at its Cobden Street factory.

A petition was opened online at the end of last week for local people to register their objection to the scheme.

As reported in the Review two weeks ago, GSK has put forward the proposal to generate power for the pharmaceutical plant and reduce the site’s running costs.

The plan is to generate six megawatts of electricity by 2013, enough to power 3,000 homes.

A company spokesman said that to achieve that level of electricity generation the 426-foot high turbines, from base to tallest blade tip, would be necessary.

But a petition launched on the GoPetition website on Friday, under the name Ferryden, opposes the scheme on the grounds that the turbines, more than 200 feet higher than the Old and St Andrew’s Church steeple, would “spoil the skyline” and would be too close to residential areas.

There is also a concern they could affect local wildlife. So far the petition has attracted 21 signatures although the link to the site is currently being circulated on social networking site Facebook. Of those, eight come from the Montrose area with others coming from Edinburgh and Dublin, Houston in Texas, Alabama and Ohio.

A GSK spokesman this week reiterated that environmental impact studies have been carried out over the past year.

He said: “The application could go to Angus Council towards the end of this year but a determining factor in that is that we have to have completed a year’s worth of environmental impact assessments and track a 12-month cycle of migratory birds, their flight paths etc.

“We also need to collect wind data, localised across the site, over a year and we have a meteorological mast on site currently gathering information for us. All of that will come to a conclusion at the end of this year and once we have that information we can proceed to making a formal application.”

Further details about the proposal will be presented to the local public at an exhibition and information event in the Links Hotel on Thursday, September 15.

The spokesman said it would offer local people the chance to “help shape GSK’s plans” and will feature background information, artists’ impressions of the turbines and project team members will be present to answer questions.

He said: “It will give members of the public a chance to give us their thoughts and feedback verbally or, if they wish, on a response card.

“While we will take note of what people are saying and they will help to shape GSK’s plans, they can make formal representations to Angus Council when the formal planning application is made.

“The plans are as detailed as they can be at this stage.”

The turbines would make the site essentially self-sufficient and all of the electricity generated would go into a local network.

Any surplus electricity produced would reduce the amount of power generated for the national grid, thereby reducing the amount of carbon dioxide created by conventional generation.