Every household in a scattered Black Isle settlement has united in defiance this week to “fight tooth and nail” against plans for a 76-metre high wind turbine close to their homes.
The residents on Culbo Road on the outskirts of Culbokie say their houses are only a few hundred metres away from the proposed “monstrosity” and they are concerned about the impact on their health, the landscape and if it is the first of a cluster of turbines on that land.
The neighbours are also annoyed they were not notified about the planned development at Upper Badrain. Within two days of reading a notice about it in the Ross-shire Journal last Thursday, around 40 people turned up at a hastily-arranged public meeting in a garden close to the site.
They have since sent in a flurry of strongly-worded objections to the planning department before Friday’s deadline, contacted the community council, local councillors and a MSP for support, held a second meeting and set up a Facebook page.
They are also planning bumper stickers, posters and banners to spread the message that they are opposed to the plan.
Culbo Road resident Steve Horsfall told the Journal: “We are determined to fight this tooth and nail. We are in this for the long run, these are our homes, I have lived in mine for 23 years. We are ready for a fight and we want to give them a fight.”
An application has been lodged by Upper Badrain Windfarm Ltd for a 500kw turbine and formation of access at Upper Badrain. Waseem Hussain of Glasgow-based Dawnenergy LLP is listed both as the applicant and the agent.
As of yesterday (Thursday) 42 public comments had been posted on the ePlanning website and all but one were against the plans.
The neighbours claim there are 68 homes within two kilometres of the proposed turbine and 100 per cent of the residents they contacted are all “vehemently opposed” to it.
Mr Horsfall says the turbine is too close to many residential properties and he is very worried about being subjected to the noise of the turbine 24-hours a day.
He said there is increasing medical evidence that the noise and shadow flicker from turbines can cause “wind farm syndrome” which results in sleep deprivation and stress.
He and other objectors pointed to a case in Cork, Ireland where seven families are suing a wind farm operator, claiming huge turbines are adversely affecting their health.
Another neighbour Alan Danson told the Journal: “The scale of the turbine is exactly the same as the height from sea level to the top of the highest pillar on the Kessock Bridge. This is an industrial size turbine at 76 metres from ground to tip on prime agricultural land.”
Fellow Culbo Road resident John Kerrison said the fear is that if this first turbine is allowed, it could lead to a second, third and fourth structure near their homes.
He added it would be a travesty to let one developer affect their chosen way of life.
“Nobody has ever knowingly chosen to move to an area and live as close to or alongside a turbine, why then should we be subjected to this monstrous intrusion when we have devoted our lives and endeavours to live in a tranquil and peaceful setting to raise our families?” asked Mr Kerrison.
Dawnenergy’s supporting statement on the project claims the site is on crofting land, there are no “designated settlements” within 5km of the proposed turbine and it is not visible from the principle Black Isle “A” road.
It states there are two wind farm projects within 5Km of the application site, but it is not considered the addition of a single turbine will “detrimentally increase the existing theoretical visual impact”.
Referring to an assessment of noise levels on neighbouring properties, it states: “Other than property one, all dwellings lie under the threshold for noise disturbance under the guidance.”
Attempts were made to contact Mr Hussain of Dawnenergy, but no comment was available before the Journal went to press.
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