By Graeme Strachan

The wife of a Royal Marines chief is fronting a battle against plans to
build a windfarm between Glen Prosen and Glen Isla.

Sue Smith ­ spokeswoman for Friends of Backwater and Glenisla Against
Turbines ­ said a public meeting will take place in Kirriemuir to “raise
awareness of the proposed windfarm in the wider community”.

Developer Eneco UK submitted an application for 18 turbines between Glen
Prosen and Glen Isla, each 125 metres in height, to the Scottish Government
in January.

The proposed 59MW Macritch Hill development is intended for Scottish Water
land at Backwater Reservoir and could generate “up to a third” of the
firm’s annual energy requirement.

More than 750 objections have been submitted to the Scottish Government
with 160 objections lodged with Angus Council, which will debate the
planning application on May 15.

Mrs Smith is wife of Major General Martin Smith, head of the Royal Marines
and Commander of the UK Amphibious Forces.

She said: “We believe that claims by the applicants that this application
meets the terms of the Angus Local Plan are flawed.

“We also believe that residents have the right to be fully informed of the
potential water pollution risk from the development.

“It must be stressed that the majority of residents are supportive of
renewable energy, but they are opposed to windfarms being located in
unsuitable areas. This is absolutely not a suitable location.

“We hope that Angus Council will support residents and ensure their
concerns are represented fairly at any future public inquiry.”

The meeting will be held at Kirriemuir Town Hall on Thursday April 23 at 7pm.

Apart from residents, there is opposition to the planning application from
major national charities, which believe the landscape would be destroyed.

The Kirriemuir and Landward West Community Council has also objected.

Opponents of the planning application say it is contrary to the Angus Local
Plan and would drastically affect the local beauty spot. They say it also
contradicts the recent Angus Landscape Capacity Study, which was jointly
funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and adopted by Angus Council, which
said the area was totally unsuitable for large turbines.

Campaigners argue that suggestions from the applicants that there would be
no significant damage to the landscape “beggars belief”.

They are also concerned that the proposed industrial development will pose
a real threat to the quality of drinking water from the reservoir, which
supplies more than a quarter of a million homes throughout Angus.

These concerns follow numerous serious water pollution incidents at
Whitelee near Glasgow, the largest windfarm in Scotland.

Eminent clinical radiologist Dr Rachel Connor, a campaigner at Whitelee,
has been invited to be keynote speaker at the Kirriemuir public meeting.

She will be supported by Graham Lang of Scotland Against Spin, the national
body helping groups fight planning applications for windfarms in unsuitable
locations.

Known as Macritch Hill after the 475-metre elevation to the east of
Backwater Reservoir, the project will stand on 1,200 hectares of shore-side
land at the 397-metre Little Ley.

Eneco was awarded the rights to explore the development in 2012, and has
since undertaken an environmental impact assessment and technical surveys
to determine the scale and design of the proposed windfarm.

Eneco states that a series of consultations have also been carried out in
the community.


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