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‘The landscape is worth far more than that’: windfarm windfalls criticised by Angus campaigner

“Pie in the sky” community payments offered by windfarm companies in Angus have been criticised by a local campaigner.

The Scottish Government is considering a 17-turbine proposal by Eurowind UK, intended for a stretch of land at Glen Lethnot.

While Angus Council considers its input as a consultee, Eurowind has reiterated the economic opportunity Nathro Hill windfarm could deliver to the Angus economy.

Director Ian Lindsay has urged the council to consider a clear ”win-win” situation for the economy.

”There are few good news stories about the economy at the moment, but renewable energy represents a massive area of growth and investment which can benefit small and large businesses across Angus,” he said.

”The opportunity to tackle the biggest environmental threat facing the world while investing significant income in the Angus economy is probably the clearest win-win Angus Council is going to find in the middle of a recession.”

Glen Lethnot resident Fiona Dow said: ”Any economic benefit promised should be a private thing, in a way.”

She continued: ”These companies are all clamouring to get in there, as the government is reviewing how much money there is to subsidise wind power.”

The firm said the construction phase would bring significant opportunities for local contractors – worth £5.5 million – and ”more if contractors and businesses seize the opportunity.”

It believes wider services such as hotels, shops and guest houses, would also benefit and up to 20 full-time jobs would be created for the construction phase, worth £1.3 million.

During the 25-year lifetime of the windfarm, it is expected that up to 39 full-time jobs would be required to operate and maintain the project, which could generate £14.6 million for the area.

The firm also proposes a community dividend to surrounding communities, worth more than £5 million to Angus causes and initiatives for business development, training or apprenticeships.

Mrs Dow said around £25 million does not add up to much over a 25-year period.

”Nowadays we talk about millions like they’re nothing,” she said. ”It may look tempting but a million pounds doesn’t get you much.

”The amenity of the landscape here is worth far more than that – you can’t put a price on it.

”They say they’ll make it all right in 25 years’ time, which no-one can claim.

”Even if they do remove the turbines, these areas can never be the same again.”

The proposed Nathro Hill Wind Farm, on the Careston Estate at Glen Lethnot, would be about 10 kilometres northwest of the A90, with a maximum total capacity of around 60 megawatts.