Char­ity wind tur­bine plan starts storm of crit­i­cism

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Strat­ton Wil­liams

Cam­paign­ers are up in arms af­ter a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion was lodged for a con­tro­ver­sial wind tur­bine in Cam­bus­lang.

Ruther­glen-based char­i­ta­ble trust Healthy ‘n’ Happy this week asked South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee to agree their re­quest to erect a 76-me­tre tur­bine.

But res­i­dents of Loa­nend and Flem­ing­ton Farm Cot­tages hit out at the plan­ning process.

Liisa Hep­worth, a spokesper­son for the res­i­dents, said: “Our com­mu­nity is in shock.

“A 50- me­tre mast, which is meant to mon­i­tor wind con­di­tions and help de­ter­mine whether a tur­bine is suit­able, was only erected on Fri­day.

“How can that data pos­si­bly be es­tab­lished af­ter only a cou­ple of days?” said the mum-of-three.

An­gry res­i­dents say the speedy ap­pli­ca­tion makes a mock­ery of the plan­ning process.

“These masts are meant to be up for at least year to mea­sure and as­sess the wind,” added Liisa, (45).

She says that the £17,000 cost of the mast came from the public purse but it has never been used for its in­tended pur­pose.

“It just ap­pears to be a waste of public funds,” she added.

“I’ve got noth­ing against the char­ity but it’s all about money for Healthy ‘n’ Happy. They don’t care about the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact or what it means to us as a com­mu­nity,” she said.

“This could se­ri­ously af­fect all of us. Af­ter all, who would want to buy a house here if there was a 76-me­tre tur­bine at the back of it?”

Now the com­mu­nity are or­gan­is­ing a cam­paign against the pro­posal.

Liisa said: “Our op­po­si­tion has the back­ing of Mar­garet Ferrier MP and we are hop­ing the coun­cil will ill lis­tenli sym­pa­thet­i­cal­lyh i ll to our point of view.”

But Bren­dan Rooney, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Healthy ‘n’ Happy, said the char­ity are “fully com­mit­ted” to the wind tur­bine pro­ject.

“The in­come stream from this pro­posal is needed to help sup­port our work for the ben­e­fit of the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“I fully un­der­stand that some peo­ple don’t like tur­bines in their neigh­bour­hood but sur­vey work we have car­ried out shows this is the op­ti­mum site.”

Mr Rooney said the or­gan­i­sa­tion have tried to mit­i­gate con­cerns that res­i­dents have.

“We have lis­tened care­fully many times to what they have to say,” he added.

He also stressed that data from the wind mast would be gath­ered for at least the next year in or­der to back their busi­ness plan for the tur­

“The coun­cil will de­cide when our ap­pli­ca­tion will be con­sid­ered and even if it is suc­cess­ful there is still a lot of work to be done,” he said.

“The tur­bine won’t be erected within one year.”

Mar­garet Ferrier MP said: “I want to see more energy gen­er­ated from re­new­able sources.

“With a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive like this, though, it is im­por­tant that mem­bers of the lo­cal area do not feel alien­ated and un­in­volved in the process.

“Healthy ‘n’ Happy are a fan­tas­tic or­gan­i­sa­tion and I would hope to see more en­gage­ment with those liv­ing near the pro­posed tur­bine be­fore this pro­ceeds fur­ther.”

A South La­nark­shire Coun­cil spokesman con­firmed that a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the tur­bine had been lodged.

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