Feelings ran high at a packed public meeting in the Black Isle this week when the developer behind plans to install a 76-metre turbine in a field close to homes came face-to-face with angry objectors “itching for a fight”.
Representatives from Dawnenergy attended a meeting of the Ferintosh Community Council on Monday to make a presentation about plans for a turbine at Dunvournie Farm near Duncanston.
But local residents objecting against the company’s other planning application for a single turbine at Upper Badrain near Culbokie admitted to “hijacking” the meeting to make clear their vehement opposition to that proposal.
Steve Horsfall, who is one of a number of Culbo Road residents campaigning against the Upper Badrain turbine, told the Journal they “really roughed up” Waseem Hussain, a developer at Dawnenergy, by bombarding him with questions he was unable to answer.
Now Dawnenergy is expected to return to another community council meeting later in the summer to give a presentation in response to the questions on the Badrain proposal.
The community council has already lodged an initial objection to the Dunvournie turbine plan, claiming it will “stick out like a sore thumb” on the Black Isle landscape. The Dunvournie application has attracted 13 public comments posted on the Highland Council’s eplanning website, some objecting but others in support of the application.
In contrast, 102 public comments have been lodged over the last two weeks regarding the Upper Badrain turbine proposal, and almost all express strong disapproval of the plan.
Last week the Journal revealed that all 68 households in the settlement on Culbo Road had united in defiance against the turbine.
Objectors say their houses are only a few hundred metres away from the turbine and they are concerned about the impact on their health and the landscape.
Ferintosh Community Council vice-chairman Iain McCallum, who chaired the meeting, said representatives from two separate energy firms attended to talk about two different turbine developments – Dunvournie and one on Little Wyvis – but it was the Upper Badrain turbine which dominated proceedings.
He said: “Ferintosh community council has quite a few single turbines in the area and one of them is under the chairman’s nose, but because it’s in keeping with the farm and for the farm use, it’s no problem, but this turbine at Upper Badrain is nothing other than a commercial enterprise.”
He likened the scale of the turbine to putting a multi-storey block of flats in the middle of a field.
Mr Horsfall said the room was full of people itching for a fight and admitted the turbine presentation was hijacked by Culbo Road residents who had “really roughed up” Dawnenergy by firing a number of intelligent questions.
He said they learned the energy company was made up of four people, who had one development under their belt and were on a “steep learning curve”.
“If I was them I would throw in the towel now and stop wasting everybody’s time,” he said.
Councillor Billy Barclay, who has been contacted by Culbo Road residents, said: “It may be that large turbines may not be acceptable and appropriate for the setting of the Black Isle.”
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