An Angus community survey has claimed 70% of residents are against a bid for a turbine at Bairds Malt’s Arbroath.
The respondents said they were against the turbine at the plant for various reasons, ranging from property prices to visual impact and its effect on a nearby path.
Bairds Malt said they would be inviting concerned residents to an open evening at the plant where they would “welcome any questions they may have.”
Tenants and Residents Uniting Timmergreens and Hospitalfield (Truth) chairman Kevin Barthorpe went door-to-door to conduct the survey and gauge strength of feeling among householders.
He spoke to 185 residents in the area – 18% had no feelings either way and 12% were in favour of the application.
The reasons given by those in favour of the 900kW turbine was energy efficiency, inward investment to Arbroath and job security.
Mr Barthorpe said: “I wouldn’t like to be one of the councillors making this decision – I think it could go all the way to the Scottish Government.
“I think it’s going to be very difficult for the council because a lot of jobs could be at risk.
“The reality is the turbine could significantly reduce the company’s £2.5m annual energy bill – that is a massive saving.
“That money could be invested back into the plant in other ways so you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
Bairds Malt has 57 Angus employees and has supply contracts with more than 1,000 farms, 230 of them across the region.
It believes a single turbine will safeguard jobs and significantly reduce the electricity consumption of the plant.
Mr Barthorpe said: “The survey found 70% of people were against it but I was surprised at how many didn’t know about it – that might be pure and utter ignorance, I just don’t know.
“The general consensus was people just don’t want wind turbines in Arbroath and I don’t think it was just this application.
“I personally can’t stand wind turbines but I am actually in favour of this one because I think it will prolong the life of people’s employment.
“I can see beyond my own hatred of them because this single turbine has a proper purpose and it will help to safeguard local jobs.”
Mr Barthorpe said the tenants’ group covers 2,000 households but he thinks the survey of 10% of those people is a “good snapshot”.
The proposed single turbine would have a height of 252ft to tip.
The installed capacity of the turbine would produce in the region of 2.3GWh per year – the equivalent of the annual energy usage of around 500 homes.
Richard Broadbent, production and technical director of Bairds Malt, said: “We ensured that the plans we put forward to the council for a single turbine at Bairds Malt are viable.
“The turbine would be situated on the south-west corner of the site, partially screened by our existing buildings, and an extensive noise assessment has shown there would be no additional noise pollution,” he said.
“We want to safeguard the future of Bairds Malt, however we understand that a number of local people will have questions about a new development for our site.
“That’s why we will continue to consult on our proposals going forward and why we have invited Mr Barthorpe and Truth to visit Bairds Malt where we will welcome any questions they may have.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding