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Advertising watchdog rules out windfarm group leaflet

Advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a leaflet distributed by a Donside wind farm campaign misled the public by including an image which suggested that the wind farm proposals were situated next to Craigievar Castle.

The No to Tibberchindy Windfarm Group has voiced its opposition to the proposed six-turbine development by Edinburgh based firm Infinis Energy at Coiliochbhar Hill near Alford.

The group was found to have given a false impression that the plans would have a negative impact on Craigievar Castle – when the turbines will be over 7km away from the landmark.

Ben Ridder, the Infinis project manager, said: “Throughout our consultation we have sought to engage a variety of stakeholders and have listened to views and opinions. It is unfortunate that the opposition group circulated misleading material. The ASA decision will ensure that this image is no longer available locally, allowing the community the opportunity to judge our proposals on their merits and to consider all the facts.

“It is disappointing that our plans have been the subject of a dishonest campaign. However, feedback from a wide range of key stakeholders, including SNH and Historic Scotland, has been positive to date, and we hope that the community also recognises the benefits of our proposals.”

In a statement the group said they were “disappointed”: “The members of the No To Tibberchindy Wind Farm Group are disappointed but not surprised by today’s decision by the Advertising Standards Agency to adjudicate against a photograph on a leaflet distributed by the group last summer. We note that the ASA is now the ‘weapon of choice’ of wind farm developers towards small voluntary groups trying to protect their local landscapes.

The statement continued said the material was “tired” and the group had no intention of using it again: ”The photograph is now ‘tired’ and we have and had, no intention of using it again as we now believe that there is more value in our own photographs of the proposed wind farm site… and we believe that the site should now “speak for itself”.”

The group have raised concerns that the development will lead to an “industrialised landscape” in the area.

There have been over 300 letters of representation written to Aberdeenshire Council about the proposed site.

The group added: “…the members of the No To Tibberchindy Wind Farm Group are an example of true local democracy in action. We have very limited means to communicate to the local population unlike developers Infinis who stand to gain large sums of money should the application be passed. We believe that Inifinis have taken advantage of the ASA, an organization based in London with no Scottish knowledge to condemn a locally relevant leaflet that was fully understood and appreciated by the people of Donside to show a height comparison.”

Coiliochbhar Hill is 1480 feet above sea level as is designated an ‘Area of Landscape Significance’ being the focal point of the Howe of Alford.

New proposals to limit the building of windfarms in certain parts of the country have been cautiously welcomed by the Scottish Conservatives this week with North- east Tory MSP Nanette Milne saying: “While we are pleased to see some areas set aside for protection, there is absolutely no suggestion the SNP will cool its overall enthusiasm for wind energy.”