Here’s an update to an earlier post on the potential effects of windfarm developments of Private Water Supplies, penned by Frank Murray.

Private Water Supply (PWS) Update

Much has happened since the Spring edition in which I wrote about Private Water Supplies (PWS) and the possible effects explosive blasting and hydraulic rock breaking could have on the cracks and fissures in the rock which would adversely affect the PWSs around the Hill of Fare. RES recently confirmed explosive blasting will be used to construct the Hill of Fare wind farm.

I have been contacted by two separate people from two separate locations where wind farms have been built. Both reported similar problems caused by the construction of the roads across the hills to build the wind farms. The heavy traffic and earth moving equipment churned up the surface overburden, soils, sand, peat, grit into a quagmire. Heavy rains then washed these contaminants down into the rocks and fissures. The accumulation of these contaminants and debris first discoloured PWS water and eventually blocked completely the cracks and fissures in the rock. Both sets of people lost their PWS and in one case people were very ill from drinking the contaminants in the water. That was because the microbiological contents of the water increased dramatically when the soil surface was disturbed.

In both cases the wind farm developer denied responsibility.

If the proposed wind farm goes ahead everyone on a PWS must insist that their water is tested regularly for flow, purity, colour, taste and smell for a period of at least 18 months prior to any work commencing. The PWS should  continue to be regularly tested throughout the build period and for at least 18 months after completion. 

It is in your own interests to ensure your particulate filters are maintained clean and serviceable and that your UV light is working properly and killing any water borne bugs.

If you notice any change in the colour, taste or smell of your water stop drinking it immediately and get it tested. If contaminated it can make you very ill or worse.

RES Recent Visit to Midmar 

The RES Project Manager Mr Gavin Shirley recently visited Midmar in order to discuss with local construction companies their possible involvement with building the proposed wind farm should it go ahead. Although I personally am set against a wind farm of any description it does make sense to me that if we are ignored and the wind farm is forced through that local companies gain some benefit from its construction. That is likely to be the sole benefit to anyone in Midmar.

Mr Shirley also visited two separate residents at their request. One resident discussed ETSU R 97 Noise Guidance with Mr Shirley. This Noise Guidance was written prior to 1996 when wind turbines were 30 mtr tall. Completely out of date and unsuitable as guidance when building 250 mtr tall wind turbines such as those proposed for the Hill of Fare.

The Westminster Government in conjunction with the Northern Ireland, Welsh & Scottish Governments commissioned a preliminary report by an independent company WSP on the ETSU R 97 Noise Guidance, this preliminary report states that ETSU R 97 Noise Guidance is out of date and requires a full rewrite. It is unsuitable guidance for building large wind turbines and especially calls into question the ETSU R 97 noise limits (UK amongst the least restrictive in Europe) and the lack of understanding Amplitude Modulation (AM) that is the whoomph whoomph whoomph intermittent sound heard when the blades are rotating.

Mr Shirley was taken aback that the resident knew about the WSP Report and was asked if the development of the proposed wind farm would be put on hold until the new guidance was published? 

Mr Shirley said the proposal was likely to change and it would depend what turbines were available when RES needed them at a later date. In the meantime planning goes ahead. Despite knowing the noise guidance is wrong!

Who will own the wind farm?

Many of you and myself may have thought that Dunecht Estates would be the owner of the proposed wind farm. At least if there were problems we would be able to complain to the Dunecht Estate office.  Not so!                

During his visit Mr Shirley let slip that as soon as RES were granted planning permission to build the wind farm they would put it up for sale, presumably to the highest bidder. WHO? Some nameless, faceless investment company in far flung tax havens? Try tracking them down to air grievances, good luck with that.

MSP Alexander Burnett has been approached by an offshore finance company with a view to building a wind farm on his land, he believes that the Learney Estate and others have also been approached. 

How long before a strapped for cash land owner succumbs to these lucrative offers? It will be the “domino” effect, once one falls the rest will follow.

With the new ScotGov guidance effectively removing restrictions on wind farm builds Deeside could become surrounded by wind farms. 

Now is the time to act to prevent that happening, write to your local councillors, MP and MSP objecting to the Hill o Fare wind farm.

Frank Murray

Hill of Fare Information Group (HoFWIG)

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