Appeal hearing next month

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GLAXOSMITHKLINE’S (GSK) case for erecting two 426 feet high wind turbines at its Montrose factory will be put to an appeal hearing in the town next month.

The hearing, which will begin on Monday, May 13, will be conducted by a reporter from the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals and will allow the company to take forward its appeal against Angus Council’s earlier refusal of the scheme.

GSK referred its plans for to the directorate after Angus Council’s development standards committee voted nine to two against the £8 million scheme on the grounds of noise and visual impact on the townscape.

The company has maintained, however, that the 2.5 megawatt turbines remain the best option to meet its aims of generating all its electricity on site. A bid to reduce the turbines height to 360 feet during the appeals process was turned down.

It is challenging the noise aspect of the refusal and the inquiry will hear from expert witness Louise Beamish, an associate consultant from WSP Acoustics, who will give evidence about the noise assessment already carried out taking into account the site’s industrial setting, measurement and analysis of background noise levels, amplitude modulation and guidance from the World Health Organisation.

The noise emanating from the latest turbines, produced since the planning application was submitted to the council, will also be considered.

At the outset of the appeal process, GSK said that to make its case to the reporter overseeing the appeal, the company intends to argue that the project’s socioeconomic benefits outweigh the turbines’ appearance.

Ian Morrow, renewable energy and facilities lead at the Montrose plant, will put the project into the context of GSK’s world-wide strategy to reduce energy consumption and use sustainable sources for its generation.

He will also detail the other measures being considered and implemented before concluding that wind energy is the most effective.

The company has maintained that the proposals will considerably reduce its CO2 emissions and eventually lead to the site becoming carbon neutral, helping to contain manufacturing costs and making it more competitive in terms of bids for business within the company as a whole.