Asbestos found at Blackdog site

Edna Booth with the proposed site for the substation in the background.
Edna Booth with the proposed site for the substation in the background.

Investigations at the site of a proposed electricity substation in an Aberdeenshire coastal community have found low level traces of asbestos.

The work at Blackdog, near Balmedie, has been carried out as part of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) windfarm development.

The site probe has included surveys and exploratory tests related to an environmental impact assessment.

Developers have forwarded a detailed report to Aberdeenshire Council.

The substation is linked to the multi-million pound offshore windfarm project in Aberdeen Bay.

More than 60 out of around 80 householders in Blackdog sent letters of protest to Formartine Area Committee regarding the substation plans, which are for a former landfill site south of Hareburn Terrace.

Following a public hearing into the onshore project earlier this year, the committee asked EOWDC to carry out site investigations.

Iain Todd, project spokesman for the EOWDC, said: “It is not unusual to find traces of asbestos in brownfield sites such as this, where there are areas of former industrial workings including a former landfill, and the site investigation findings are generally as expected.

“Should the development proceed, we will of course implement all proper control measures in terms of health and safety, environmental protection and waste disposal.

“The partners behind the EOWDC have always informed the local community of their commitment to improving any areas of ground where contaminants are discovered if consent is granted for the onshore works in order to render it safe for development.

“Indeed, we believe any such remediation work required would greatly improve the condition of the site.

“Before the partners behind the EOWDC submitted the planning application for the onshore works, a detailed environmental appraisal of the proposed development was carried out to professional standards even though the planning service deemed that this was not required.

“The appraisal was conducted to ensure careful and diligent consideration is given to minimising potential environmental impacts from the proposed development, throughout its lifetime.”

Villagers recently stepped up their opposition to the substation and launched an online petition.

Edna Booth, who has spearheaded the campaign along with neighbour Nicola Brown, said they were “disappointed” by the results of the investigation.

She added: “We had expected to find a lot of asbestos. We believe they drilled in the wrong place and did not go far enough into the ground.

“The residents have voiced their concerns but, at the end of the day, the council will decide if it goes ahead.”