Residents hit out against windfarm plans

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A LARGE number of residents are currently trying to block plans for a windfarm near Hatton.

Planning application for the Hill of Braco windfarm were lodged with Aberdeenshire Council last month and since then, around 250 representations have been submitted, with the majority believed to be objections.

This number is expected to rise as the final date for public comment is April 4.

Residents have voiced concerns about an increase in the volume of traffic, effects on livestock and farming, an impact on school travel as well as concerns for wildlife.

One resident said: “The Moss of Cruden is a Local Nature Conservation Area and should remain just that” while others say there are already too many windfarms in the Buchan area

Resident Willy Mitchell said: “PNE Wind did a bird survey but it was not good - they were supposed to check flight paths of herring gulls and observe them from 6am but thousands of them leave around 4am so they aren’t getting the right results.”

Owner of Kinmundy Kennels, Michele Emslie, is a member of the Moss of Cruden Windfarm Awareness Group (MOCWAG) and said the response from fellow residents about the plans has been “overwhelming”.

She added: “People have had trouble getting their views through online as the Council website kept crashing, possibly due to the response from people across the Buchan area.

“Homeowners are concerned their property values will go down and business owners will also be affected, therefore the local economy will be impacted.

“If these plans get put through, we will be prisoners as we won’t be able to access and use the area.

“I am also concerned about the access point route by PNE Wind. They have effectively deleted two houses from society.

“I asked PNE if they had consulted the residents about the move and they said yes and they agree with it, only I spoke to the residents myself and they said PNE had not consulted them at all.”

Jacqueline Scoular lives at Hardslacks and is concerned that horses will be impacted by the windfarm.

She said: “We will be forced on to the roads which is very dangerous for horses - we have already seen one horse killed, but we are at a stalemate with PNE, they won’t return our phone calls or e-mails.

“My house is one of two houses that may have water problems due to construction and PNE told us that should our supply be affected, they would bring us bottled water but that is not enough.

“There is every chance our water will get grit in it and if horses drink that, they will get Gravel Colic.

She added: “I am also concerned about the enormous pit that will be left in the moss afterwards. What will happen to wildlife if they fall in? They will end up dying.”

In a letter to the Buchanie, reader John Pilkington from Cruden Bay said: “I went to the PNE Wind display at Hatton and we must live in a double world running side by side. 90 per cent of people that attended do not want this project.”

A PNE WIND UK spokesperson said: “Prior to submitting the planning application, PNE carried out a variety of detailed assessments on noise, hydrology and water resources, wildlife, traffic and transport management. These assessments are carried out to ensure that the Wind Farm will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment and to ensure that any potential impacts are carefully managed. The results of these assessments are reported in an Environmental Statement which has been submitted as part of the planning application to Aberdeenshire Council.

“PNE is continuing to engage with key stakeholders and anyone with questions about the Hill of Braco Wind Farm proposal is welcome to contact PNE directly at any time. We are happy to liaise with local residents and the BHS to address any questions from local horse riders in proximity to our site.”