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Turbines firm attacked over ‘propaganda in schools’

Developers behind a major Buchan windfarm scheme are under fire for organising a series of green energy workshops at local primary schools.

Opponents of the group’s planned 12-turbine project, earmarked for land at Hill of Braco, south of Peterhead, say the lessons are nothing more than “propaganda”.

Youngsters at Hatton, Longside and Longhaven have been involved in the sessions, designed to raise awareness of climate change and promote green energy.

The events have been commissioned by developers PNE Wind UK and led by Rowanbank Environmental Education. But local residents battling to block the development last night claimed the workshops were an “underhand tactic” aimed at winning over young minds.

Michelle Emslie, of Blackhills, said: “This is simply propaganda. They are just trying to influence the local community by targeting schoolchildren.”

She said: “I have a problem with the timing of these workshops.

“But to do this just while plans are being put together for a major windfarm development is just unacceptable.”

She added: “Sadly this is an underhand tactic typical of big wind energy companies. If they feel so strongly about providing this sort of education, then why are they only taking it to three schools around the Hill of Braco area.”

PNE project manager Rosie Vetter said the sessions were aimed at giving children a better understanding of renewable energy technologies including hydro and solar, as well as wind.

“PNE Wind UK is committed to making a positive contribution to the Buchan community,” she said. “We are keen to provide educational opportunities for future generations to learn more about renewable energy.

“We want these workshops to give young people in Buchan a better understanding of an industry that may be important to the north-east economy for many years to come.”

She said feedback from the schools had been “overwhelmingly positive”.

A mural being put together by youngsters at Hatton will be used during public consultation at the village hall in November.

If approved, the windfarm would be the biggest of its kind in the Buchan area. An application for planning permission is expected to be tabled with Aberdeenshire Council before the end of the year.