September 22, 2013

Winds of discontent

The Berwickshire News | 22 September 2013 |

A reception committee of protestors will meet Scottish Minister Fergus Ewing when he comes to officially open Drone Hill wind farm on Coldingham Moor.

Anti-wind farm groups Save Our Beautiful Berwickshire, Scotland Against Spin and the Minto Hill Group all plan to make their feelings known at the opening ceremony on Monday, September 30.

It was originally planned for them to be given time to speak to Mr Ewing during his visit, but they have since been offered another meeting date at the beginning of October.

Objectors to the Drone Hill wind farm have a number of issues they want to raise with the minister: one being the re-routing of a right of way that takes walkers right underneath several of the 22 turbines, which have a tip height of 76 metres.

George Matthews, who lives close to the wind farm, is currently in correspondence with the Ombudsman about health and safety issues connected with the wind farm: particularly the concerns about the right of way.

“They aren’t interested in public safety, no one will take responsibilty for it so we have written to the Ombudsman,” confirmed Mrs Matthews.

“We are arranging a welcoming party of local residents who are unhappy with many aspects of the wind farm.

“Our welcome will be by way of a peaceful demonstration using placards etc to express our dislikes of the wind farm and the whole system.

“We have many concerns with the wind farm.

“Our main objections are the fact that the wind farm is now built and spoiling our landscape; we are living in view of the wind farm and get no compensation to cover the loss in value of our homes (we have been trying to sell or home for over three years but the wind farm is putting people off); the local communities get £40,000 when the developer last year earned nearly £5 million.”

The community fund will deliver £1 million over the lifetime of the wind farm, and registered charities, not-for-profit and community groups in Reston and Auchencrow, Coldingham, Cockburnspath and Grantshouse areas are eligible to apply for funding.

“The local community only gets 0.8% whilst AES get 99.2% of the £5m,” argues Mr Matthews.

Scottish Borders Council refused planning consent for the wind farm but developer’s PI Renewables successfully appealed, the Government Reporter concluding that the wind farm would “satisfactorily fit in the landscape type” as the moor sat in a shallow bowl.

Drone Hill turbines started turning in September last year and operator AES Wind Generation Ltd sell its output to Statkraft, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy. under a 15 year agreement.

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