A NUMBER of issues were not deeply discussed or barely touched on at last Tuesday’s Banff and Buchan area committee when questions were raised on the level of monitoring for the planning proposal for large scale wind turbines at Mains of Auchinderran.
Apparently while a few readings were taken these may not have had much significance for the actual proposal, at least at levels which seemed to bother some councillors far less than one or two who raised them.
These relate to the noise levels anticipated and I would suggest that someone grasp the technical ‘nettle’ – which may possibly be outside the area where some individuals may feel competent to address – and that we are given something substantive on the types of measuring equipment and calibration standards which would be accepted as necessary for prompt action to be taken should it be found that the 80-metre high turbines generate more noise than the generalities described in the application.
This is not merely a perception issue. It is possible to get hard data on which action can be taken.
There are reports of a windfarm in the north being the subject of shut-down proceedings after 10 months of problems for neighbours, (even with all their double-glazed windows shut which in summer is a ridiculous imposition on their freedom to enjoy their homes) albeit the construction of a neighbouring windfarm in fairly close proximity is now being dragged in – almost inevitably this is likely to drag things out longer by ‘muddying the waters’.
I have previously proposed that some specific means are derived whereby those immediately neighbouring these huge industrial developments in country areas are compensated for their loss of amenity.
I reject the concept of a few hundred or thousand pounds as it is avoiding the total issue involved.
While accepting ‘things move on’ and that we are heading for a generating deficit at present in the UK, I feel it is avoiding responsibility to take away one person’s amenity – whether for a quiet retirement or to run a country bed and breakfast for the interests of others. A more meaningful means of reparation is required.
A percentage of power generated and not someone’s notional cash value would seem more equable as we enter an age where the ramping up of power costs is not readily assessable, nor the levels at which ‘green levy’ or subsidies may be varied.
This needs to include a recognition of payments made when the structures don’t turn as required by power supply companies and to take into account that later in the life of the turbines there may be less generating days due to increasing maintenance requirements while they still stand.
A more equable deal for those whose amenity, and in some cases business, has been blighted needs to be a subject of wider discussion.