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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
50%
 50%  [ 4 ]
Not in favour
50%
 50%  [ 4 ]
Dont care
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 8

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alibali
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:56 pm    Post subject: Kinneff windfarm Reply with quote

Waken up people! Of course these damn things should be objected to. What on earth have the folk living next to these got to gain? Nothing much really. Not even cheaper electricity. OK there's the community fund but is that enough compensation to put up with a disturbed TV picture , a house you won't be able to sell and which will lose virtually all its value, and a constant humming noise when you're trying to sleep. I can't believe folk want this. They can't be taken away once they're here and they'll be here for at least 25 years. Once the novelty of then has worn off let's see how many locals actually like them. Only 3 I guess - and they'll be the local landowners who have moved out with the annual profits ensuring a good retirement.

But I'm probably wasting my breath as no one is going to read this anyway.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:42 am    Post subject: Re: Kinneff windfarm Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments Alibali. It's important that anyone who wants to comment on this can do so. You can rest assured that even though not many people post messages here, there are quite a few who read this forum.

If I could just take you up on a couple of the points you've made;

You mention disturbed TV pictures. From the environmental impact statement it is quite clear that the developers are aware of the potential problems and are working with the agencies concerned to minimise the effect. Further to that, at the Community Council meeting in January, the developers clearly stated that if anyone's TV reception is affected then they will put the matter right at their own expense. In other words - it won't be an issue.

The "constant humming noise" you refer to is a myth. Turbines aren't silent, but to suggest that people will hear them inside their houses from over at least half a kilometer away seems to overstate the case. I very much doubt anyone's sleep will be disturbed by them.

Your assertion that people's houses will loose virtually all their value seems to be somewhat of an exaggeration, and the suggestion that the turbines "can't be taken away once they're here" is just plain nonsense. Once their economic lifetime is over they will be decommissioned and the only people who'll be able to see any trace of them will be archaeologists.

It's interesting that you bring up what might happen "when the novelty is worn off". Studies have found that as people have got used to wind farms in their vicinity they become less concerned about them and eventually stop noticing them entirely. (I know it's a bit lazy to use sentences that start with "Studies have shown", by the way, but it's a little late and I'm ready for my bed. I'll find a reference for them tomorrow.) *

I'm sure you're aware that there is extremely demonstrative and vocal oppostion in Barras and Arbuthnott to the development, but what you might not realise is that there is also considerable support in the local community, and particularly in Kinneff.

And finally .... you're not wasting your breath. I read this for a start, and I know for a fact others will read it too. Maybe someone else will even post a reply...

* Edited to include the following references;

You might like to see the results (2471Kb PDF) and the research findings (102Kb PDF) of the survey carried out by MORI for the Scottish Executive on public attitudes to windfarms.
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alibali
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:21 pm    Post subject: Kinneff windfarm Reply with quote

I've just got to reply haven't I? Clearly you are in favour. I am not. Not at this location.

How are the developers going to fix a disturbed TV picture? Who says that a technological fix is even possible? The only fix is likely to be removal of the turbines which ain't going to happen. The assessment itself shows what I am saying to be true since it states that two turbines may need to be repositioned to prevent problems. I'm sorry to say this, but saying things like the developers will put the problem of a dodgy TV picture right at their own expense shows some naivety. Can I get this guarantee in writing? Have you ever bought a new house then tried to get the developers back to fix it? Do you know how much service you get from developers once they have what they want - nothing!! Don't make me laugh.

The noise is not a myth as evidenced by the fact that the planning application had to be reduced from 12 to 10 turbines because twelve was deemed too noisy. And the decibel rate shows the level to be that of normal to loud conversation (in windy conditions). I'm afraid I wouldn't like the level of noise of a conversation going on whilst I was trying to sleep. Next time you go to bed, switch on the TV, leave it on all night, then see what a wonderful sleep you get. Then do this every night for the next 25 years (minimum).

I'm calling you naive because you said losing (not loosing) the value of a property is nonsense. It's not nonsense since no one will want to buy a property next to a windmill, and from that perspective (ie. it is unsellable) it is worthless. Why would anyone buy a property next to a windmill for the same price as one not next to a windmill? It's not as if there isn't a huge choice of property on the market.

You can talk all you like about surveys and documentation, but I'm coming at this from a lifetime of experience. No way are the developers the slightest bit interested in anything other than making a buck. And whilst you make the point that the windmills will be decommissioned (ie taken down when there no longer making money for their owner), it's hardly a consolation for those against this proposal - I mean do you think I'm happy to wait at least 25 years (probably more) for that to happen! Don't think so.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 12:16 pm    Post subject: Tilting at windmills Reply with quote

Hi Ali,

You didn't have to reply, but I am pleased that you chose to. Yes I am in favour of this development, but more importantly I'm in favour of there being an open debate about it in the community. It's an important decision, and it's important that it is informed by an accurate representation of the facts.

I'm pleased to note that you seem to be backing away from some of the more overstated parts of your initial posting, such as the assertion that "they can't be taken away once they're here". It is true to say they will be here for up to 25 years, but to suggest as you originally did that they can never be removed is false. All things pass with time, and they can and will be removed when their time comes. When they are gone, there will be almost no trace that they were ever there. Their long term environmental impact is infinitesimal compared to, for instance, hydrocarbon or nuclear power plants.

You also seem to have defeated your own argument regarding TV reception. As you said yourself, "[the assessment] states that two turbines may need to be repositioned to prevent problems". Clearly the developers are aware of the potential problems and have shown a commitment in both the environmental report and in minuted public meetings to address them. This is in line with other commitments they have given to regarding the re-instatement or replacement of other services which might potentially be affected, such as private water supplies. I'm afraid I couldn't possibly comment whether you can "get this guarantee in writing", but I'd suggest that perhaps the best thing to do initially is to actually ask the developers themselves. Why not write them a letter and find out, and then publish their response here? It'd be an interesting exercise and would provide valuable information for us all.

I'm afraid your analysis of the noise levels based on the figures in the environmental statement is seriously flawed. Although it is not mentioned in the statement, the noise level of a normal conversation at 3 to 5 feet is taken as being around 60 dB (1). The statement shows the noise level of a wind farm at 350m to be 35-45 dB. This is a difference of between 15 and 25 dB.

Now [cue Jennifer Anniston impersonation] here comes the science part...

The decibel scale is logarithmic, not linear. Every 6 dB increase is equivalent to a doubling of the sound pressure, so difference between two decibel readings of between 15 and 25 dB is equivalent to a difference in sound pressure between 2.5 and 4 times.

Secondly, the 35-45 dB figure for a wind farm is taken at 350m. However, there are no houses within 500 metres of any of the turbines. Sound intensity varies inversely with the square of the distance from the source, so if the distance from the source is increased by a factor of 2, the intensity is decreased by a factor of 4. Therefore at 500m the noise would be considerably lower.

To use your television to simulate the noise of a wind farm on the nearest properties, you'd have to turn the volume down by about a half and place it over 150 metres away from the house. Of course, the TV comparison is a gross oversimplification since there are many other factors involved in addition to the plain dB levels, but I'd suggest that this is hardly likely to disturb anyone's sleep and is unlikely to be heard over the normal noise of wind and traffic.

In your initial posting you said that people living near the wind farm will have "a house [they] won't be able to sell and which will lose virtually all its value", and you follow up by saying "no one will want to buy a property next to a windmill". This is an exaggeration, although I can see how you've arrived at the conclusion. It is clear that you personally wouldn't buy a house near a wind farm, and you seem to have inferred from this that nobody will. However, the majority of the general public are either neutral on or in favour of wind farms (2). Granted it will be difficult to sell to the minority of people who don't like wind farms, but then it will also be difficult to sell to people who want to be within walking distance of a secondary school, train station or supermarket. When buying a house, people make all kinds of judgements on what is important to them and what is not. For most people, the presence or otherwise of a wind farm is not important. I can see that house prices might be temporarily affected by the proximity of a new wind farm, but your suggestion that all the houses would become unsellable and consequently worthless is mere hyperbole. The house price issue is oft quoted by anti wind farm activists, but there seems to be a lack of any evidence to support the claim. There has, as far as I'm aware, only been one piece of research published into the effects of wind farms on house prices, and it concluded that there was none (3). Unfortunately the report applies only to America, but given the UK anti wind farm lobby's fondness for running the house price reduction scare story, I find the lack of any hard evidence of a permanent reduction in price to be telling.

You have a perfect right to object to the wind farm and to make you opinions known, and I'm delighted that you've chosen to do so. However, you do not have the right to expect unsupported and inaccurate assertions to go unchallenged. If your objections are valid and robust they will withstand scrutiny, but if not then you are merely tilting at windmills.

Respectfully,
Stephen


References

(1) http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/gbssci/phys/Class/sound/u11l2b.html
(2) http://www.scotland.gov.uk/cru/resfinds/grf12.pdf
(3) http://www.repp.org/articles/static/1/binaries/wind_online_final.pdf

Other information

"Decibel" on Wikipedia
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stephen
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 11:34 pm    Post subject: Wind farms hit house prices - for only 2 years... Reply with quote

Quote:

"A planning application for a wind farm hits local house prices, but the negative impact diminishes as time goes by. This is the conclusion from a snapshot of the housing market by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) published today (3 November 2004)."


This would seem to contradict the "no one will want to buy a property next to a windmill" argument, since it is seems that the negative effect is only temporary.

This seems to me to be quite significant when taken in conjunction with the fact that negative public reaction to wind farms tends to decrease after they have been built. Could it not be that scare mongering, hyperbole and misrepresentation by the anti wind farm lobby actually contributes to the reduction in house prices? That would certainly explain why house prices recover afterwards, when it becomes clear to everyone that the objections are groundless.
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alibali
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:10 am    Post subject: Kinneff windfarm Reply with quote

Well I think I am going to leave it at that. I have made my point. You have gone into some depth in answering my points Stephen, and I appreciate that, unfortunately for me they sounds like the words of a politician. I work in a science-based industry in a professional capacity and am well familiar with the use of technical and statistical arguments and surveys to convey the impression that those wishing to promote their ideas/projects always use. The trouble with this way of presenting information is that it can always be maniplulated and presented to convey whatever conclusion is desired. And it always ignores the most common-sense and obvious concerns of those that stand in the way of "progress".

Behind all this hogwash what do I see? I see a small minority of people living next to these windmills having their voice snuffed out, overwhelmed by the greed of those out to make a buck, by those living far enough away to avoid suffering problems but still enjoy the community fund, and an absolute disregard for the scenic landscape and history of the area.

It may well be the case that many people will benefit, but there will always be the small band of losers that no one gives a damn about, and riding roughshod over other people's lives is never an acceptable way to make money.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 12:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Kinneff windfarm Reply with quote

I'm disappointed that you've chosen to throw in the towel so soon, Ali. I was really enjoying our discussion and was looking forward to seeing how it developed. Sad

I did enjoy your attempt to discount my points by saying they sounded like "the words of a politician" (and I presume you were using "politician" as a pejorative) - nice try, but it won't wash. You yourself use emotive language to issue a clarion call, but when presented with objective, documented evidence to refute your inflated assertions you try to claim a higher knowledge by quoting your "experience" over my "naivety" and your "common-sense" over my "hogwash". Unfortunately it is quite clear that your arguments are long on hyperbole, inaccuracy and misdirection, and short on demonstrable facts. If anyone has been using spin and manipulation to convey an impression while ignoring the evidence (the stock in trade of the seasoned politician), I'm afraid it is you.

Your use of words is very skilful. For an example, look no further than the statement above that you "work in a science-based industry in a professional capacity". This could very easily give the impression that you are a professional scientist, but careful reading shows that you are not, in fact, claiming to have any scientific qualifications at all. This is very clever and I tip my hat to you, but it is a well known debating tactic and not one that I'm likely to fall for any time soon. Frankly, I would be surprised if a scientist were to make the same howler as you did when interpreting the published wind farm noise data. You were just flat wrong there and no amount of insinuations about "the use of technical and statistical arguments" is going to change that.

So here is a clear and unambiguous statement of my qualifications - I am an engineer by training (B.Eng Mining), a computer programmer by trade, and I am technically literate. Mentally processing and understanding data is an important part of my job and I am passionate about accuracy and precision. That applies equally to the use of data and the use of language. It goes against my inner geek to allow an unsupported assertion to go unexamined.

Where you see "a small minority of people...having their voice snuffed out", I see a group of extremely vocal protesters making wildly inaccurate claims in the local press, overstating both their case and the level of support they have. I see them producing (forgive me) a lot of wind and noise but, for all their clamour, there is very little substance to what they say. (Incidentally, with regard to having their voices heard, I was delighted to provide a link to BACKWAG web site (there - I've done it again) from Catterline Online when I was asked at the end of February, and at the same time I extended an invitation to them to use this forum to put their case across. Sadly, nobody other than your good self seems to want to take up this opportunity. Even their own site seems remarkably thin when it comes to divining what their actual objections might be.)

More worryingly, I also see people on both sides of the debate making increasingly bitter and personal attacks, and this saddens me greatly. There is one thing I think we can all agree on, which is that regardless of whether or not the proposed development goes ahead, we all still have to live together. Wind farm or no - 2 years from now we will still need to speak to each other and get along. The result of this debate will not affect that in any way, but the way we conduct it will be crucial.

I think it ought to be possible to make a case against the St John's Hill wind farm that is coherent and accurate; one that can withstand scrutiny and doesn't rely on scare stories and emotional blackmail for its impact; one that doesn't descend into unseemly name calling and concentrates on what people say rather than who is saying it. I don't think anyone has done this yet.

Regards
Stephen
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stephen
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 1:39 pm    Post subject: Windmill-o-meter gets pimped... Reply with quote

See the new improved windmill-o-meter, with distance shown to every planned turbine from any point on the map.

(Still searching for those elusive "home within 500m of every turbine"... Rolling Eyes )
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skylark
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:04 pm    Post subject: Objection to windfarm Reply with quote

Only recently found this site so thought I would throw in my opinion on the windfarm.

I am in favour of renewable energy and think wind power definately has a role to play in future energy supply. Indeed I already choose to purchase wind powered electricity from an offshore farm. However, I firmly believe that wind farms must be judged very much on individual merit. I am fed up with both extremes of this argument that have web sites urging people to either write in favour, or against, any wind farm regardless of where it is. I do not see how one can possibly make an informed decision without at least some degree of information and knowledge about the local conditions. My main objections to the St Johns development are in terms of scale and proximity to housing. The turbines are far too big for the local landscape and are too close to peoples houses. There is no shortage of applications in the pipeline so it would seem sensible to only consider good developments in the appropriate place. This developoment is neither a good one nor in the right place.
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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

its the poor littel monkeys i feel sorry for. all those littel grasic gibons are going to be terified by all those grate big noisy widnmills
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stephen
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:36 pm    Post subject: What next for BACKWAG? Reply with quote

The new plans mooted for the St John's Hill wind farm would seem to have gone some way towards addressing the concerns about the size of the turbines, the potential for noise and proximity to housing, so where does that leave the objectors now?

In as much as I could determine what their substantive objections were/are, it seemed to boil down to the subjective view that the turbines were too big and there were too many of them. It always seemed to me that was a fairly weak basis for opposition, as it is easily countered by simply reducing the size and number of the turbines. Now that the developers have done precisely that, I'm not sure where BACKWAG can go with their arguments.

I sincerely hope BACKWAG will take advantage of the renewed interest in this debate to make a more effective case - either here or on their website (www.backwag.org.uk).
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stephen
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 10:45 pm    Post subject: Kinneff windfarm latest Reply with quote

George Swapp reported to the Catterline Kinneff & Dunnottar Community Council last Tuesday that it expected that a determination on the St John's Hill windfarm proposal will be made in March or April this year, and seemed to think it would be more likely to be later rather than early. Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland are yet to respond to the revised plans, but Aberdeenshire Council Planning and Environmental Services, who had been critical of the original proposal, are now satisfied that the revised plans address their concerns regarding the size of the development and the site access.

It seems likely that there will be a public inquiry into the proposal, similar to the one held last year into the plan for a windfarm at Hill of Garvock near Laurencekirk.
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stephen
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Historic Scotland's response to the St John's Hill planning application has been received by the council. Their letter is extremely critical of the Environmental Statement (ES) and the methodology used, calling it "inadequate", "inconsistent" and "innaccurate".

However, after 3 closely worded pages of scathing criticism on the ES, they end with the terse three line conclusion that;

Quote:

Although we have serious reservations as to the adequacy of the assessment of impacts and provision of information in this ES we conclude that the level of impact will not be so significant nor adverse that we would object to this planning application.


So - despite having concluded they have no objections to the plans, they've decide to show how clever they are by doing a critique of the methodology used.

Well I'm glad we all waited over a year for that.

Rolling Eyes
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stephen
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In yesterday's P&J;

Quote:

WINDFARM PLAN LIKELY TO BREEZE THROUGH
08:50 - 05 October 2006

A Windfarm development on the outskirts of a Mearns village looks set to be approved by councillors.

Plans to construct a nine-turbine windfarm at St John's Hill, near Kinneff, will be discussed by councillors at next week's Kincardine and Mearns area committee meeting [Tuesday 10th October].

A decision was deferred by the committee in August to allow members to make a site visit.

The development, which is a collaboration between local company FM Developments and Danish organisation KE Projects, has attracted 468 letters of support and 279 against - a further nine since August.

Aberdeenshire Council planners have recommended approval for the windfarm, which they believe meets local and national policy.

Members of the area committee wanted the site visit to gain a better understanding of the visual and environmental impact.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:27 pm    Post subject: Kinneff windfarm decision due today... Reply with quote

The area committee met to decide on the application this morning, but I don't know what their decision was. Does anyone out there know?
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Last edited by stephen on Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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