A GROUP of Lunanhead residents has pledged to fight the latest plan for a large wind farm on the outskirts of Forfar.
And they say they won’t accept ‘30 pieces of silver’ to sway their judgement either.
The residents are outraged at joint plans from Carse Grey Estate and Element Power to site the St Mary’s Well Windfarm which, if approved, would have five 92.5 metre high turbines.
Details of the plans have been revealed to the local community council and a number of public exhibitions are due to start later this month, prior to the formal planning application being submitted.
Residents say that the proposal would destroy the beautiful landscape and would seriously impact on those living near to the turbines.
At a meeting of concerned residents Susan Oliphant was elected chairwoman of the action group Stop Turbines at Lunanhead (STAL). Mrs Oliphant said that she has been overwhelmed by the number of people voicing opposition to the windfarm plan which would be clearly visible from the A90.
The turbines would also dominate the view from houses at Howmuir and Myrestone and be seen across Strathmore.
Mrs Oliphant said: “A large number of people have raised concerns that the developers are offering so-called community benefits which is being seen as an inducement not to object.
“Community councils would receive a few thousand pounds while the developers make millions.
“It is fools’ gold if accepted as the landscape would be seriously affected and homes blighted for a quarter of a century.
“We will not be swayed by gifts.”
The group members are shocked that Carse Gray and Element Power are pursuing the plan as a smaller windfarm scheme at the nearby Finavon Hill was recently rejected by the Scottish Government.
Mrs Oliphant claims that membership of STAL is growing by the day as the new proposals are even more damaging than those thrown out at Finavon. She said: “The vast majority of residents support renewable energy proposals.
“But they agree with Scottish Government policy that windfarms should only be built in suitable locations – and this certainly isn’t one.”
Exhibitions will be held on Thursday, April 18, at Aberlemno Village, Aberlemno, from 4 to 8 p.m.; Friday, April 19, at Finavon Hotel, Finavon from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Reid Hall, Forfar, from 4 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 20, at St Margaret’s Hall, Lunanhead, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
An Element Power spokesperson said: “Since our first public exhibitions, held in July, 2012, and the completion of our environmental studies we have made a number of significant changes to the proposed design of the windfarm.
“We have reduced the tip height of the blades to a maximum of 100 metres.”
The developers say that there will be a number of benefits to the local community including bringing a boost to the hospitality industry and local construction companies.
The St Mary’s Well Windfarm Project is a joint venture between the Carse Gray Estate and Element Power.
James Gray-Cheape’s family has lived at Carse Gray since 1741 and in that time the estate has provided a living and working environment for generations of Forfarians.
The developers hope that the project would make a significant contribution towards creating a safe and secure electricity supply. They also hope that it would protect the Estate’s future and the livelihoods of those living and working at Carse Gray.
James Gray-Cheape said: “My vision, should the project succeed, is that anyone who looks at these turbines on a day to day basis will be able to say with pride that these turbines not only power Scottish homes without the use of fossil fuel, they also provided their community and local businesses with financial benefits and opportunities.”
Element Power say: “We create clean, renewable sources of energy to meet the increasing demand for green electricity and to address the pressing challenges of global warming and energy security.
“The Element Power team has demonstrated a track record in the successful consenting and completion of the development of wind farm projects operating out of our Scottish office.
“The team has the core skills and knowledge to take projects from inception through to operation.”
The developers intend to establish a community benefits package based on £5,00 per MW of installed capacity per annum over the lifetime of the wind farm if it becomes operational.
This would likely equate to £60,000 per year and £1.5 million over the lifetime of the project.
The fund would be used to finance projects in Aberlemno, Lunanhead, Kirriemuir Landward East and Forfar.