Scottish Daily Mail

Marine chief ’s wife leads resistance to wind farm invasion

- By Peter Laing

SCOTLAND’S wind farm industry is facing a doughty new opponent – the wife of the head of the Royal Marines.

Sue Smith has spoken out against plans for a developmen­t she fears could poison the drinking water for 300,000 people in Dundee and surroundin­g areas. Mrs Smith, 52, is married to Major General Martin Smith MBE, who has served in Afghanista­n and the Gulf War.

He took over as Commandant General Royal Marines l ast June.

Now his wife is spearheadi­ng resistance to the Macritch Hill developmen­t proposed by Scot- tish Water and Eneco energy in the Angus Glens.

It comprises 18 turbines overlookin­g Backwater Reservoir, which provides drinking water to Dundee, about 30 miles to the south.

Mrs Smith, who has held talks with Eneco at her own home, claims the 400ft turbines will ruin the beautiful landscape and even poison the reservoir.

She said: ‘We have yet more anxiety about yet another wind farm for this beautiful area. The glens here are largely unspoilt.

‘There is a big swell of objection here due to the visual impact. I also feel that there is a potential public health interest issue here.

‘There are 300,000 people supplied by the water from this reservoir. And the closest turbine at the proposed site is, I think, 500 metres from the water.

‘What has been brought to my attention is the potential risk of pollution.

‘Very much like a conflict of interest’

I’m advised that the Backwater is a designated drinking water protection zone.

‘The applicatio­n is made by Scottish Water [a Scottish Government owned organisati­on] and the same applicatio­n will be determined by the Scottish Government – this seems very much like a conflict of interest.

‘For us, the greatest worry is noise – the cumulative output of 18 huge turbines.

‘We’re worried about health and the impacts of noise – it can cause disturbanc­e to sleep, tinnitus, depression. There’s a whole long list.’

Jo Chapman Campbell, of the Glenisla Against Turbines protest group, said Mrs Smith was ‘very aware’ of the issues: ‘She and I will be planning a demonstrat­ion up on the reservoir as well. So there’s lots of plans. People like Sue have put so much work in. She’s exhausted.’

An Eneco spokesman said: ‘We have tried to make her aware of what we are actually doing. We’re aware of her concerns.’

A spokesman for Scottish Water said: ‘We are satisfied that this is a safe and responsibl­e proposal with real benefits for Scotland. We welcome all comments on the proposal.’

Scotland’s last coal-fired power station may have to stay open to keep the lights on across the UK if the wind is not blowing.

National Grid bosses are in talks with the closure-threatened Longannet plant in Fife to see if it can help maintain voltage levels.

 ??  ?? Power couple: Sue and Major General Martin Smith
Power couple: Sue and Major General Martin Smith
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