GSK says turbine delay rumours are ‘spurious’

RUMOURS that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has put its wind turbine project on hold were this week dismissed by the company as “spurious and unfounded”.

A message posted on Tuesday on the No Way GSK campaign website, set up to oppose the proposals for the two 426 feet high turbines, claims the scheme has been shelved until next year due to “capital funding constraints” and until after the local government elections in May.

Ian Paton, spokesman for the action group against the £8 million project, claimed that GSK has already missed its own deadline of November to lodge its planning application with Angus Council.

He said: “The end of the month came and went and instead of landing on a desk in Forfar with a thump expected to register on the Richter Scale, the plans, the reports, the Environmental Impact Assessment continued to languish on the rosewood table of the GSK’s board room. Why?

“Is it possible there was a delay at the printers? Did some hapless secretary lose the stapler? Or did the virulence of the campaign against this desecration cause GSK to blink?

“When one considers the polish of GSK’s public relations as they rolled out their proposals in the Links Hotel in mid-September, it seems highly unlikely that some technical glitch is responsible for the delay; much more likely it is, that the strength of dissent comes as some surprise to the company, requiring a ‘tweaking’ of the text here- and some massaging of the sums there.

“Is it too much to hope that perhaps, just perhaps, some more sensible counsel is being heard in the board room?”

But the GSK spokesman said the scheme is progressing according to plan.

The company hopes the turbines, located on the south side of its Cobden Street site next to the South Esk, will slash its carbon emissions in Montrose by around 75 per cent.

The company has also proposed siting 15 tidal turbines under the South Esk bridge and it was recently granted a tidal energy contract by the Crown Estate, which owns the majority of the seabed within the 12-nautical mile limit of UK territorial waters. The step is the first in a series that will have to be taken if the turbines are to go ahead.

The spokesman said: “This rumour is totally spurious and unfounded. The turbines are still progressing to GSK’s plan and the company is keen to see the project come to fruition. It’s an important element of its strategy to make the site sustainable and reduce its CO2 emissions.”

Meanwhile, Ferryden Community Council intends writing to Angus Council’s planning department to consider in future applying the Scottish Government’s guideline on two-kilometre buffer zones around wind turbines. At last Thursday’s meeting, member Tina McLean pointed out that while some councils have adopted the guideline, Angus is one of several which has not.

She said: “I’m asking if the community council would consider asking the council to put this in place as policy. I feel we should know what the rules are on buffer zones and as a community council we have a responsibility to ask that. It’s something that should be looked at as a whole and if we bring this up, other community councils may ask the same thing.”