Concerns over proposals for a 17-turbine wind farm on Nathro Hill on the Carestone Estate were discussed at the latest meeting of the Inveresk Community Council last week.
The meeting, which saw 20 members of the public in attendance, allowed local people to voice their concerns about the development before Inveresk Community Council formulated an official response to the plans to be sent to both the Scottish Government and Angus Council.
Each turbine would be a total height of up to 135 metres, with a rotor size of 107 metres and an individual blade length of 52 metres.
Speaking at the meeting chairman for the group Duncan Smedley said: “It has been suggested that wherever a wind farm goes that people in that area are going to see a benefit on their electricity bill. That is not what happens. Any electricity that is generated goes into the national grid, it does not directly benefit the homes in that area.
“We ourselves do not have any clout in making a decision but we can put our views forward.”
Marshall Halliday of the Esk River and Fishery Trust, added his concerns about the possible increase in silt reaching the river: “We have gone through the environmental impact assessment in some detail, we also went through the scoping report in detail which highlighted a number of issues of which we have very serious concerns.
“There are over 7,000 metres of new access tracks across the hillside and 4,000 metres, approximately, of upgraded tracks along the hillsides. These are all potential areas for substantial drainage leading to increased silt going into this catchment of the South Esk, including two important spawning burns that go into the Westwater.
“We have very serious concerns about the scale of the wind farm and its impact on fisheries, however, I have to say the environment impact survey was carried out extremely thoroughly and very professionally and has dealt largely with all our concerns.
“However, they have said that they can prevent these concerns from becoming serious but they do not say how.”
Concerned about the risks the wind farm could have on wildlife, in particular, Golden Eagles was David Adam who stated: “Within four miles of the Eurowind proposed wind farm there is breeding of Golden Eagles.
“Eurowind do admit that certain amounts of birds will be killed by turbines.
“The amazing thing about the size of the turbines is that they would extend three miles into the eagles territory. The total area of the swipe of the rotor blades is 14.5 hectares. In simple terms that is 20 vertical football pitches on sticks, on a ridge that is used by 100s of raptors each year.”
Local resident Fiona Dow expressed her concern over changes to roads that could occur if the proposal was given the go-ahead: “All the traffic is going to come from the A90 up Menmuir and up to Glen Lethnot. Every road, I would imagine, as soon as they leave the A90 will have to be altered.”
Concerns over the visual impact on the landscape were raised by community councillor Patrick Ford who explained: “Angus is a small county. That is its great charm. From various points in Angus you can see about half of the county.
“From all over Angus you will be able to see the wind farm.
“We have the benefit of photomontages on the visual impact of the turbines but they will never give you the full impression of the effect it will have on the sky line that we are familiar with and take for granted.
“We have the landscape guidance which has been recently issued by Angus Council and it makes it absolutely clear that these particular hills are not suitable for this size of windfarm. The maximum size would be 80 metres on the lower ground only and I think this breaches those guidelines.”
All residents who have any concerns or views they would like raised are reminded that any views should be submitted to both the Scottish Government and Angus Council by August 29.
Responses can be emailed to the Scottish Government at email@example.com marked for the attention of Theresa McInnes or by post to Theresa McInnes, The Scottish Government, Energy Consents/Deployment, 4th Floor, 5 Atlantic Quay, 150 Broomielaw, Glasgow G2 8LU.
Reponses to Angus Council should be emailed to TaylorE@angus.gov.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org.