Former US President George W Bush may be the most unlikely name yet enlisted in the fight against a major windfarm development on the Angus/Perthshire border.
Angus Council has been “swamped” by international objections to 14 turbines proposed for Black Hill in Glen Isla – from the likes of the Netherlands, Western Australia and Jacksonville, Florida.
More than 200 objections have been lodged with the local authority at the rate of more than 20 a day – stretching planners’ abilities to register them.
It is understood high-ranking objectors will enlist the aid of Mr Bush who visited the area as a teenager, in the hope of defeating Wind Prospect Developments Ltd’s application on behalf of EDF Energy Renewables.
George W Bush’s childhood friend Sir William Gammell, whose family have been permanent residents in the glen for almost 70 years, said it was “no place for such a large-scale industrial development”.
In the 1950s, Sir William’s father invested in a small Texan oil firm, Bush-Overby, owned by future president George Bush Sr. The two families became friends, with George W Bush spending the summer at the Gammell’s farm in the Angus glen.
Bush to join objectors?
Local campaigners have claimed the early advantage in their fight against a windfarm on the Perthshire/Angus border.
More than 200 international objections have been lodged with Angus Council over 14 proposed turbines at Black Hill, Glen Isla.
It is understood high-level names may enlist the help of former US president George W Bush in objecting to the 377ft EDF Energy project, entitled Saddle Hill.
If successful, the former president would join controversial US tycoon Donald Trump in registering distaste for the perceived overdevelopment of wind power in Scotland.
George W Bush’s childhood friend Sir William Gammell, whose family have been permanent residents in the glen since 1946, has lodged an objection, saying it was “no place for such a large-scale industrial development”.
Sir William is the son of Edinburgh investment banker James Gammell, who in the 1950s invested in a small Texan oil firm, Bush-Overby, owned by future president George Bush Sr.
The two families became friends, with George W Bush spending the summer at the Gammells’ farm in the Angus glen.
George W was also a guest at Sir William’s wedding in 1983 and the two have remained close friends.
Sir William, who recently retired as chairman of Cairn Energy after 25 years, said: “It is my belief that this windfarm will impact tourism in the area and dramatically affect the income of the local people who are employed in the area.
“I know this area to be rich with established and rare wildlife – wildcats, ring ouzels, raptors, owls, black grouse and bats all make their home in the glen.
“In summary, Glen Isla is a very special area, famous for its wildlife and stunning countryside, and no place for such a large-scale industrial development.”
Letters and emails are being received at the rate of more than 20 a day, stretching the local authority’s planning department.
Objections have come from as far as the Netherlands, Western Australia and the US.
Sir John Maclure, a Lancaster baronet, said he first visited Glen Isla in 1959, at the same time as Bush, and said: “I think his support will also be enlisted by the way.”
He added: “I object because, quite apart from the appalling impact on the area which I have known since my first visit in 1959 … it is now a proven fact in Cornwall, to where I have retired that the value of these windfarms to the national grid is negligible.”
Derek Powell, of lobbyists the Angus Communities Windfarm Action Group, claims the nature and quality of the objections make a “compelling” argument for the protection of tourism in Perthshire and Angus.
He said: “I must confirm that I cannot recall an Angus application which has received so many objections, from all around the world and from so many levels.”
The stewards of Cortachy Castle, which Lord and Lady Airlie have left in order to downsize, said the proliferation of turbines will impact badly on the setting.
The castle, near Kirriemuir, has been held by the family for around 500 years and the couple have now moved to a new home around a mile away.
Lord Airlie has handed over the management of the estate to his son, Lord Ogilvy.
In a letter. the family stated: “I strongly object to this (development) which will adversely affect this beautiful glen.”
A petition has already gathered hundreds of signatures.
Wind Prospect Developments has said visual and environmental impact will be “carefully considered” for the site, which has already been the subject of controversial, failed windfarm bids.
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