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St John's Hill Wind Farm
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Are you in favour of the proposed wind farm at St John's Hill, chapel of Barras?
In favour
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 50%  [ 4 ]
Not in favour
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 50%  [ 4 ]
Dont care
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 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 8

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stephen
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:35 pm    Post subject: St John's Hill Wind Farm Reply with quote

There is a plan to put 10 wind turbines in the area around St John's Hill, which is about 1 mile north east of Roadside of Kinneff.

I've just got back from the community council meeting this evening where the developers who are planning to build the wind farm came to answer questions - sometimes quite pointed ones - from the people present. George Swapp also outlined and explained Aberdeenshire councils position on the planning requirements for windfarm developments.

A copy of the Technical Summary and Environmental Statement were lodged with the community council, and there is also a copy of the Environmental Statement at Kinneff Stores available for public viewing. I'll also be publishing the minutes from the meeting here when I get them.

No formal decision is expected before May at the earliest, as the results from a 12 month long bird life study in the area will not be available until April.

If you want to find out more, the developers will be putting on an exhibition to show and explain what is planned in Kinneff village hall on 23 February. The exhibition will run pretty much all day - from 11 til 8.

I have a feeling that there is going to be a lot more said about this in the very near future Rolling Eyes .


Last edited by stephen on Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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stephen
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:45 pm    Post subject: P&J Article Reply with quote

Text of article published in the P&J on 24th December...

Quote:

PLANS FOR 10-TURBINE WINDFARM AT KINNEFF
TOM KIRK
09:00 - 24 December 2004

Plans for a windfarm that could see 10 turbines up to 100 metres high built in the Aberdeenshire countryside have been submitted.

A company called St John's Hill Ltd wants to build it on farmland at St John's Hill, Chapel of Barras, near Kinneff, south of Stonehaven.

Locals have already begun to voice fears about noise and its potential impact on the landscape and wildlife.

They say the company has failed to notify several people whose homes will be affected.

The firm says the development would help reduce harmful greenhouse gases and the erosion of finite, fossil fuels.

It is a joint venture comprising Dutch* renewable energy development specialists KE Projects, and FM Developments, whose director, John Forbes, owns some of the land.

As well as the 10 turbines up to 100 metres high there would be a 60-metre wind-measuring mast and a sub station.

The windfarm would operate for 25 years, after which the site could be reinstated, or possibly developed as another windfarm, says the company.

Farmer Ian Duncan, who owns some of the land adjoining the site, said he had received notification on Wednesday, but added that many locals had not.

"We don't know much about it in the area," he said.

"The only indication we had was when a mast to measure the wind was erected there a year ago. Now we are being told we have 14 days to react and, with Christmas, that leaves us without much time.

"Some people simply haven't been notified at all. We want to have a public meeting about it and to learn more before it goes any further."

Mr Duncan, who has been involved in efforts to reintroduce several species of birds to the area, fears the development might prove "detrimental" to that work. He added: "I spoke to other people near here yesterday and they are more concerned about the effect it will have on the landscape and the noise. We simply don't know what the effect will be."

St John's Hill Ltd, which has commissioned a full assessment of the windfarm's impact, says it would not affect any national scenic areas, national parks, or areas of outstanding natural beauty.

On the issue of noise, the company's application adds: "Wind turbines are especially quiet machines and have been specifically designed for use in remote areas with low existing background noise levels. However, they are not totally silent."

The company claims the venture would produce significant environmental benefits, generating enough electricity for about 14,000 homes and cutting carbon dioxide emissions alone by nearly 1.4million tonnes over its 25-year lifespan.

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said the developer's initial role was to notify neighbours, but stressed that any development would be more widely advertised before the plans, which have only just been submitted, went "live".

He also said it could be months before the application went before councillors. The plans can be viewed at the council's offices in Viewmount, Arduthie Road, Stonehaven, or at Kinneff Stores and Post Office.



* KE Projects is actually a Danish company.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:30 pm    Post subject: Another P&J Article Reply with quote

From the P&J on 5th Feb 05

Quote:

OPEN DAY WILL OUTLINE PLANS FOR WINDFARM NEAR KINNEFF


09:00 - 05 February 2005
Developers behind plans for a 10-turbine windfarm development in the Mearns will outline their scheme to local residents this month.

Danish renewable energy firm KE Projects and FM Developments want to build the scheme at St John's Hill, Chapel of Barras, near Kinneff.

Local residents had previously called for an opportunity to view the proposals at a meeting in the small settlement, south of Stonehaven.

A display is now due on Wednesday, February 23, at Kinneff Village Hall, from 11am to 8pm. A group of experts behind an environmental study which supports the plans will attend, along with the developers.

The joint firm established to deal with the development, St John's Hill Ltd, yesterday released a summary of its plans for the site. A map indicates how the turbines would be laid out.

Alongside the turbines, which would stand up to 300ft tall, a wind-measuring mast and sub-station would be erected if the plans are approved.

A proposed community trust fund, it is claimed, would receive "at least £25,000" a year.

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stephen
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 10:45 am    Post subject: Yet another P&J article Reply with quote

From P&J 15th Feb 05

Quote:

MEETING AIMS TO ALLAY MEARNS WINDFARM SCHEME FEARS

TOM KIRK

09:00 - 15 February 2005
People in the Mearns are to be given the chance to discuss their fears about a controversial windfarm scheme with the company behind the plans.

St John's Hill Ltd claim the meeting, later this month, will allay concerns about their plans, which could see 10 turbines up to 100 metres high built in the Aberdeenshire countryside.

The company is also pledging to give £25,000 to the community every year if the windfarm is built on the proposed site at Chapel of Barras, near Kinneff, south of Stonehaven.

The scheme has already met with strong opposition from locals worried about the noise it will cause, and its impact on the landscape and wildlife.

Stonehaven and District Community Council is the latest organisation to add its weight to the mounting objections.

Chairman Derek Stewart said the development would be a blot on the landscape, visible from as far away as Portlethen, and putting off potential visitors to the Mearns.

"There are still objections to this going on," Mr Stewart said.

"The size of the turbines is the biggest we have seen, and we don't want them to spoil the landscape.

"If you have a nice, open landscape like that, this is simply not the sort of development you should be building on it."

If passed by councillors, the windfarm would operate for 25 years, after which the site could be reinstated, or possibly developed as another windfarm.

St John's Hill Ltd will be displaying their plans in Kinneff Village Hall on February 23, when experts will also be available for consultation.

The company is a joint venture comprising Dutch renewable energy development specialists KE Projects, and FM Developments, whose director, John Forbes, owns some of the land.

Mr Forbes said they would give £25,000 a year to the community if the plans were accepted.

He said people would be able to apply to a committee to use the money, for example, to fund their children's university education.

The company also claims the development will only impact slightly on the environment while generating electricity for about 14,000 homes.

Mr Forbes added: "There is no way we would ever do some of the things people are suggesting this will do to the community.

"The only concern we cannot allay is that of people who don't like the windmills themselves, although we will try to blend them in as best we can.

"I think these developments are the way ahead for the environment. I hope people will come along so that we can have a debate about it.

"Everyone you ask about wind turbines is delighted with the idea until you say they are in their district. I think that attitude is a mistake."

The display will be in Kinneff Village Hall from 11am to 8pm on February 23, and there will be opportunities for consultation throughout the day.

The application itself is expected to go before councillors in the next few months.
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Pieter
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 2:09 pm    Post subject: Community Ownership Reply with quote

This is the first time visit for me to this site. As a local, I think it is excellent to have a resource like this available!

I was not aware of this planned windfarm development, but interestingly enough we were talking about windmills in the creel last night! A couple of weeks ago I watched BBC's Landward program on the Sunday morning and it was about renewable energy. One of the things I found most interesting was about a community-owned, grid-connected windmill project in Orkney. All locals invested in this project. Now the windmill provides the locals with electrical energy and any surplus energy is sold to the grid, so rather than paying the electricity supplier the locals receive money! No longer is the windmill a noisy visual impairment... each time the blades go round they make money of it, rather than some third-party company... For Catterline and surroundings I think this would be a great idea!

More info:
http://www.oref.co.uk/burray.htm
http://www.oref.co.uk/burray2.htm
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stephen
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting links there Pieter.

To anyone wanting to voice an opinion on the proposal, I'd suggest contacting either the Community Council or going directly to Aberdeenshire Council's website and comment on the application there.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 12:45 pm    Post subject: Mearns Leader Article Reply with quote

Article in Mearns Leader - 11 Feb 05 is here.

Quote:

WIND FARM FIGHT BEGINS
AN ACTION group was this week formed to fight the recent wind farm application at St John's Hill, Kinneff.

St John's Hill Ltd - a joint venture company of Edinburgh-based FM Developments and Danish company KE Projects - wants to build a 10-turbine windfarm on land near Kinneff.

Now, wind action group BACKW.A.G. will represent those in the communities of Barras, Arbuthnott, Catterline and Kinneff, who oppose the development.

Chairman Edwin Booth said the group will represent the "considerable amount of local concern" about the proposal of an industrial complex in the rural environment.

"A large number of residents and homes would be impacted," he said.
"These residents feel strongly about a range of issues that will need to be understood, co-ordinated and articulated with clarity."

And Mr Booth said he felt the developers had been cynical in the way in which they drew up their plans.

"The only reason anyone would want to have a wind farm here, in a location like that, is profit.

"We are annoyed the developers have gone ahead with this, as it is a bad application. They have sited the turbines at the minimum distance from properties.

"Every turbine is within 500m of someone's home."

He added: "We are not against wind energy, provided the wind turbines are suitably located with due consideration of local requirements.
"The group will take active measures to ensure local and national interests are respected.

"We will fully represent local views about the ecological damage, loss of amenities, reduction in quality of life, potential health hazards and all other planning objections and concerns."

Meanwhile, the developers are to display
their proposals to the local community at the village hall at Kinneff on Wednesday February 23 from 11am to 8pm.

A spokesperson for the joint venture company said: “This is a great opportunity for local people to inspect our proposals in detail. The partners and representatives from our consultants will be in attendance to answer any questions, and I do hope as many people as possible will manage along”.

The spokesperson added: “We are obviously keen to see this project progress, but we know there are concerns being expressed over a number of issues connected with the wind farm, and we hope the display will help answer these concerns.

“FM Developments believes that once people have had the chance to view the plans in detail and hear the facts about the proposed development, any fears the local community has, will hopefully be allayed and the financial and ecological benefits that the wind farm will bring to both the local and wider communities, will be more broadly appreciated.”


Last edited by stephen on Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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stephen
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet another article in the P&J...

Quote:

WINDFARM PLANS FAIL TO CONVINCE DOUBTERS

TOM KIRK

09:00 - 24 February 2005
Plans for a windfarm in the Mearns met a mixed reception yesterday as the company behind the project attempted to allay local residents' fears.

People in the area were given a chance to look over St John's Hill Ltd's development plans at a display in Kinneff Village Hall.

The company has applied to erect 10 turbines, each 328ft high, on farmland around St John's Hill, Chapel of Barras.

The scheme, however, has already met substantial opposition from the surrounding communities, concerned about the health risk and the impact on the landscape and wildlife.

The company had pledged to allay many of those fears through yesterday's display.

Campaigners opposing the scheme, however, said more would need to be done to win local hearts and minds.

Edwin Booth, who is leading an action group against the development, said it was still "totally inappropriate".

"This is basically an area of a few farms, and they are putting this right on top," he said.

Susan Kemp, from Mitton of Barras, said the display had not dealt with her concerns.

"I have several health worries about the development, especially the noise and the glinting effect of the turbines," she said. "I am still against it health-wise at the moment, I'm still unconvinced."

St John's Hill Ltd is a joint venture comprising Dutch renewable energy specialists KE Projects, and FM Developments, whose director, John Forbes, owns some of the land.

The company is pledging to give £25,000 a year to the community if the scheme goes ahead through a fund that will be managed by locals.

They are also offering to take people to see a working windfarm at Androssan, near Glasgow, in an effort to reassure them further.

Anker Ekelund, from KE Projects, said the opposition was a necessary teething stage in a process that would eventually see windfarms accepted. "It is a natural reaction," he said. "The windfarm industry is very young in the UK. Studies show people are against it at the planning and construction stages, but that diminishes when the turbines are up. It's like pylons or masts; after a while, you don't see them any more."

Mr Ekelund also said the company was trying to make the turbines "fit in" with the landscape.

A date has yet to be fixed for the plans to go before Aberdeenshire Council's Kincardine and Mearns area committee.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:21 am    Post subject: distances Reply with quote

It was stated in the Mearns Leader article last week that;

Quote:

"Every turbine is within 500m of someone's home."


As far as I can tell, having spent a while looking at the map, the closest house to any of the turbines will be Craighead at 560m.

Are there some house not marked on the map that I might have missed?
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stephen
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:11 pm    Post subject: yet more clippings Reply with quote

Two more articles - both in the Herald:

"Would Lewis Grassic Gibbon wax lyrical about windfarms?"

and

"Writer’s daughter objects to windfarm"
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stephen
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Where's-the-windmill-o-meter" has just been updated to include circles marking approximate 500m radius around each turbine. Still no eveidence to support the "Every turbine is within 500m of someone's home" claim though.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More from the Scotsman

Quote:

Wind farm threat to scene of a Scots literary classic

JAMES REYNOLDS
ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT

A SCENIC view made famous in Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s trilogy A Scots Quair will be irretrievably damaged by a proposed new wind farm, the writer’s daughter claimed yesterday.

Developers want to build a ten-turbine 25 megawatt wind farm on St John’s Hill, in the Howe of the Mearns, right in the middle of the rugged, unforgiving land that inspired the 20th century Scots literary classic.

The 14 sq km site, about 25 miles south of Aberdeen, is within a few hundred yards of Bloomfield, the deceased writer’s former home, which featured heavily in his works.

Grassic Gibbon was the pen name of James Leslie Mitchell, who lived near the village of Arbuthnott in the Mearns and gained worldwide acclaim with his novel Sunset Song in 1932. It was followed by two sequels, Cloud Howe and Grey Granite.

Richly detailed descriptions of the area and, ironically, the wind that swept over it, effortlessly evoked the rugged and untamed quality of the Mearns.

Although agriculture has undoubtedly changed the appearance of much of the landscape, locals argue that the skyline has remained largely the same, with no new buildings in the immediate area.

Grassic Gibbon’s daughter, Rhea, has now added her voice to the development’s growing number of opponents, insisting that the proposal to erect the 330ft turbines will "irrevocably alter a picture of the Scottish countryside known to so many people through one of the masterpieces of 20th-century Scottish literature".

She told The Scotsman: "It is difficult not to sound hysterical, overtly nimby-ish and as if I’m referring to the whole project as a massive act of vandalism, but how can they possibly put one of these monstrosities next to Bloomfield?"

In a letter to Aberdeenshire Council, which is considering a planning application for the wind farm, she asks that it be rejected, saying: "My concern is that the position of the wind farm will be highly prejudicial to the landscape."

The turbines will lie in the way of a proposed path from the Lewis Grassic Gibbon Centre to his former home. Isabella Williamson, the manager of the centre, in Arbuthnott, said: "People come from all over the world to visit the landscape that inspired his works and if this development is permitted it will totally change it. It will never, ever be the same again."

The application has been submitted by FM Developments and KE Projects. Peter Moynan, the commercial manager of Enviros Consulting, of Edinburgh, which carried out an environmental impact assessment on their behalf, said: "Ultimately, the question is, will people’s understanding and enjoyment of Grassic Gibbon be affected by a wind farm which is located in the area?"

He said the landscape had "totally changed" from when Grassic Gibbon was writing, and went on: "My view would be that the majority of people might not perceive an effect [to the area] and I certainly don’t think it will stop people coming.

"The structures will only be there for 25 years and can be removed and taken away when the farm is decommissioned, so to say it will irretrievably damage the area is unfair."

A decision by Aberdeenshire Council is expected in July.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two things in the article above are worth highlighting;

Quote:

Grassic Gibbon’s daughter, Rhea, has now added her voice to the development’s growing number of opponents, insisting that the proposal to erect the 330ft turbines will "irrevocably alter a picture of the Scottish countryside known to so many people through one of the masterpieces of 20th-century Scottish literature".


and

Quote:

The turbines will lie in the way of a proposed path from the Lewis Grassic Gibbon Centre to his former home. Isabella Williamson, the manager of the centre, in Arbuthnott, said: "People come from all over the world to visit the landscape that inspired his works and if this development is permitted it will totally change it. It will never, ever be the same again."


It is difficult to see these statements as anything other than a massive exageration. The agricultural industry has moved on and the "picture of the Scottish countryside" painted by Lewis Grassic Gibbon is already long gone. Wind turbines are comparatively easy to decommission, and when they are gone there is little to show they were ever there in the first place. The suggestion that the countryside will be permanently scarred is simply wrong.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:11 pm    Post subject: Wind farm visit Reply with quote

I went on the visit to see the Ardrossan wind farm organised by the St John's Hill Ltd to experience first hand what a windfarm is like. The farm we went to see had 12 turbines the same size as the ones proposed for St John's Hill, but over a much smaller site so their visual impact from a distance is far greater (the Ardrossan site is about 900 m across, whereas the St John's Hill site is between 2 and 3Km across). When up close, the turbines are undeniably large structures, but when viewed from within the site the impact is far less.

10 of the 12 were operating when we arrived, and even though the wind was very low they were turning at around 16 rpm (the maximum for the St John's Hill turbines will be 18 rpm). They are not silent and there is a whooshing noise as the blades go around as well as a very slight hum which is audible if you listen very carefully. However, to suggest that they are loud or in any way intrusive is completely wrong. Even standing right beneath one our conversations continued as normal. I walked a little way along the service track that links all the turbines and stood in about the centre of the site. There were 10 operating tubines within approximately 500 yards of where I was stood, but the loudest thing I could hear was a skylark singing its heart out about 100 yards away. In truth, the A92 makes far more noise than the Ardrossan wind farm.

While we were there a number of other people strolled or cycled past, enjoying a pleasant day out on the hill while looking at the stunning view across the Firth of Clyde to snow dusted Arran, and Cllr. Margaret Munn (Ardrossan) explained how the wind farm had attracted a great deal of interest from tourists, local schools and residents alike, and that visits to the site were frequent - so much so that they are installing a telescope in Ardrossan marina so that people can get an even better view of the turbines. From this is would seem that there is clearly scope to enhance the experience of visitors to the Mearns as well, and it would be good to see other local tourist attractions and organisation working together with the St John's Hill developers to make to most of this fantastic opportunity.


Last edited by stephen on Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:40 pm    Post subject: Wind farms win 76% of support on current form Reply with quote

Article in The Scotsman, 23 Mar 2005.

Quote:

Wind farms win 76% of support on current form


MORE than three-quarters of people in the Lothians agree wind farms are necessary, a new study has revealed.

The survey, conducted by leading research agency NOP World, showed 76 per cent of those polled in the area said wind farms were important to help meet current and future energy needs.

The popular support for wind farms in the region was unveiled at the launch of the Embrace The Revolution campaign in Scotland, which gives a voice to Scots who back wind power.

The group says the result of interviews with 850 people challenges myths put out by the anti-wind farm lobby of a vocal minority movement against wind power, and is in line with the national figure of 73 per cent support.

The Scottish campaign already has the backing of high-profile supporters across the spectrum, including Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos, actor Brian Cox, celebrity chef Nick Nairn, broadcaster Magnus Magnusson and designer Anna Ryder Richardson.

Maf Smith, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: "The results of this independent poll reinforce what we already believed true - that ordinary Scots are strongly behind wind power, despite the claims of the vociferous minority anti lobby, which has been given a profile well beyond their credibility."
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