GSK to challenge turbine report

GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK) has said it intends to take on each point raised in a council report which recommends refusal for its proposed wind turbine scheme.

The report, by infrastructure services director Eric Lowson, is due to be considered at Tuesday’s development standards committee meeting.

Mr Lowson said the proposals to site the 426-feet high structures at the company’s Cobden Street factory contravene planning policy. In particular he highlighted the wider “significant adverse landscape and visual impacts” the turbines would have as well as “significant adverse visual and noise impacts” on nearby residents.

The company has said previously that the £8 million turbines will help to make the Montrose plant carbon neutral by 2014, part of a company-wide carbon reduction programme which has the ultimate aim of cutting the organisation’s carbon footprint by 25 per cent by 2020 and completely by 2050, and viable for the future.

Objections were lodged by both Historic Scotland and the Scottish Civic Trust on the grounds that the development would have an adverse impact on and “overwhelm” the Old and St Andrew’s Church steeple, which is a “defining” characteristic of the town, although Historic Scotland said this could be mitigated by erecting “substantially” smaller turbines.

A GSK spokesman told the Review on Friday that the company will comment on the points highlighted in the report.

He said: “With respect to potential nuisance to neighbours from noise that the turbines may create, GSK believes the turbines could be operated within the council’s guidelines.

“In terms of visual and landscape impact, it has always recognised that the turbines would have an impact which the company believed would have to be weighed against environmental and social/economic benefits.”

Mr Lowson also pointed out that although he could not support the proposals, he would be willing to discuss with GSK alternatives with “reduced impacts. The company, however, maintains that it has “thoroughly investigated all possibilities” and believes that the two 2.5 MW turbines are the only option to meet its needs.

The spokesman added: “Current wind turbine technology means that the turbines have to be of the scale proposed to enable the site to generate all of the power it required and to make the greatest contribution to the site becoming carbon neutral.”

He added that installing 229 feet high turbines, the same height as the Old and St Andrew’s steeple, would not harness enough wind power to meet the site’s goals, would not be viable in terms of pay back on capital and would still have “significant” visual impact.