Readers Letters 16.8.12

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Sir,

I am writing in response to the article in the August 2 Kirriemuir Herald entitled ‘Tackling anti-social drivers in local area’.

Kirriemuir Hill is a black spot as far as this sort of activity goes.

The young petrol-heads of the area drive up and down constantly at high speeds, with noisy exhausts and using high revs, moving away from the junction with West Hill Road at high speeds.

They can be heard over much of Kirriemuir.

They are often chasing each other and six cars may follow one another up/down the hill all very close together.

If the front one should have a problem they would all smash into each other.

Several ASBOs have been issued but still they come.

The police, to give them their due credit, are vigilant and are often seen in the area.

They need more people ringing in to tell them when it’s happening and noting the registration numbers.

Please if you hear these drivers don’t just moan but pick up the phone.

The number to ring for Tayside police is 0300 111 2222.

Why should a few bored youngsters make our lives a misery?

Yours etc.,

Name and address supplied.

Sir,

ON a recent visit to Forfar Loch ranger centre I was delighted to see how the ‘Window Into A Life Garden’ project is progressing.

Especially as the recent adverse weather conditions have set the venture back weeks and the work is being carried out by Angus Council ranger services, local volunteers and the junior rangers - truly a community project.

Forfar is extremely fortunate to have a ranger service that is brave enough to undertake this ambitious project and with the foresight to realise what a benefit to the community the completed garden will be, especially to children/school groups, researchers and artists.

I was pleased to discover that throughout construction the garden has been attracting native wildlife.

The nest box at the centre had a family of sparrows (four fledglings) and the pond has newts and frogs feeding off it.

I look forward to the various stages of landscaping taking place as the completed project plan in the centre shows a diverse and stimulating community asset to Forfar’s country park.

Yours etc.,

S. Allan.

Sir

I attended Webster’s Sports Centre on Saturday and I would like to say a big thank you to the organisers of the free family fun day hard on the heels of the free event in the Martin Park for the opening of the Olympics’ 2012 two weeks prior.

I think all the families who attended either of the events thoroughly enjoyed themselves and, let’s face it these types of events don’t come along that often in Kirrie. It was a great chance for all the families of Kirriemuir to get out and really enjoy themselves on their own door step and all for free.

Well done to all who organised and attended either of the events. Hopefully the people of Kirriemuir will see and support a lot more of these type of fun days in the future. Yours etc.,

Name and address supplied.

SIR,

I would like to correct the detail regarding Ark Hill Wind Farm attributed to Mr Eric Lowson, Director of Infrastructure Services in last week’s Dispatch and to provide an update on the development at present under construction.

Much misunderstanding and incorrect information is in the public domain regarding this controversial ‘first windfarm’ for Angus, which is now being built in the Sidlaws.

In comparing the Ark Hill site at Glamis, with the Nathro windfarm proposal in Glen Lethnot (to be decided by the Scottish Government) it is incorrect to state Ark Hill is a 10.4MW development with turbines of an overall height of 81m.

The following sequence is a potted history which I hope dispels some of the misinformation that this development has generated in the last 13 years!

Ark Hill Wind Farm history.

2000 - RES submit a planning application and full three volumes of Environmental Impact Assessement. It was the first application of 12 x1MW turbine development and was withdrawn by developer.

2003 - second application submitted for 1.3 MW, eight turbine development (10.4MW as quoted last week) using all of the ES survey work from 2000 and with Angus Council request for supplementary information, a further two large ES volumes submitted by RES in 2005.

June 2006 - planning permission granted by full council for an eight turbine development with s.75 Agreement and 56 planning conditions, despite local opposition which has not wavered.

Three years pass.

February 2009 - s. 75 agreement process is completed, and documentation regarding planning permission issued. New planning legislation introduced. Original developer RES, for reasons unknown, give up and walk away.

2011 - RES are replaced by Greencat Renewables who team with Strathmore Estates both as landowner and developer, with Lamb and Gardiner associates to develop site.

2012 - court case challenges the Planning Permission on the ground that it has expired. Sheriff rules planning permission dates from 2009, not 2006 and is therefore still valid. The expenses of that action have still to be determined by the Sheriff and a future Hearing is planned.

June 2012 - Greencat Renewables start work without fulfilling pre start conditions, Wildlife and local heritage based on survey work dating back to 2000/2003/2005, has been compromised.

Some but not all pre-start conditions are fulfilled. Two enforcement enquiries carried out by Angus Council and with requests from planning department to cease work on site.

July 2012 - work continues. At present five diggers are preparing tracks and turbine sites for, as stated by developer, eight Enercon E48 turbines of 800KW. That gives a development of 6.4MW, not as granted in 2006.

The planning permission at Ark Hill is for turbines to a height of 81M to blade tip, the Enercon E48 proposed by Green Cat at Carrach were quoted as being 84m to blade tip. The turbines to be used for Ark Hill are not the same as those specified in the ES (which were 1.3MW Bonus/Vesta turbines) on which all visual impact, noise and amenity issues have been assessed. Most importantly Green Cat has not provided any noise assessment in relation to Ark Hill, so in particular the turbines may not have the same noise profile. No noise assessment has been provided for these turbines in relation to the numerous properties lying within 2Km of the site, which includes our own.

The nearest houses are quoted on RES information, as being 724m (Chamberwells) 822m (Upper Handwick) and 868m (Wester Denoon). The site is very noise sensitive, and at best will be on the margin of acceptability. There are currently problems with E48 turbines in Aberdeenshire with noise and shadow flicker, where GreenCat was involved and complaints have been submitted by residents to Environmental Health Department. Farmhouses and steading lie empty in North Ayrshire at the above distance(868M) from turbines and are potentially subject to demolition.

Basing a 2012 development on survey work that is now at least 12 years old, with an s.75 Agreement and 56 Conditions, ‘as long as your arm’ to use Councillor King’s phrase at the Infrastructure Services meeting this week, this development is proceeding with little protection for local residents and wildlife.

The amount of paperwork, the complexities and the age of the application are too great to be properly scrutinised by Angus Council planning department who are overwhelmed by wind turbine applications. At least three turbine applications per week are being submitted by some landowners and developers, desperate to grab the lucrative consumer sourced subsidies before they are reduced.

Planning officials and wildlife crime officers cannot be on site to ensure correct procedures are being carried out during development, so much is left to the integrity and trust of the developer! As stated at Tuesday’s Council meeting,the planning legislation introduced in 2009 does not apply to Ark Hill as it was granted in 2006. Yet the Sheriff Court ruled differently. Human rights and local democracy do not apply, as no community consultation has taken place and the Community Council is left powerless to act on behalf of residents.

In essence, the criteria and safeguards applied to turbine proposals today do not apply to the residents surrounding Ark Hill. The finite staff hours and limited finances of Angus Council will be no match to resolve the problems that are predicated to arise.

It is sad to think that, as the heather on which the late Queen Mother walked comes in to bloom, the first wind farm for Angus will be erected by those with little regard for the stewardship of our countryside or the protection of the tenants who like the ground nesting birds are disregarded under a cloud of ignorance and greed.

Yours etc.,

Jane Brewster,

Easter Denoon,

Eassie (via e-mail).