Drone Hill wind farm opening postponed

Drone Hill wind farm on Coldingham Moor still remains to be opened officially, a year after it started producing electricity.

Environment Minister Fergus Ewing was supposed to do the honours at the AES operated wind farm this week but pulled out at the eleventh hour.

Anti-windfarm protesters at the Drone Hill turbine site on Coldingham Moor

Anti-windfarm protesters at the Drone Hill turbine site on Coldingham Moor

Anti wind farm protestors had given plenty of warning that they were ready to give Mr Ewing a piece of their minds at the official opening on Monday morning, but despite it turning into a non-event a number of them from all over the Borders went to Drone Hill anyway armed with placards and megaphones just in case Mr Ewing turned up.

Stella Matthews, who lives on Coldingham Moor and has been trying, unsuccessfully, to sell her house, told ‘The Berwickshire News’: “We met here at the Drone Hill wind farm because we wanted to see Fergus Ewing who was going to open the wind farm officially even though it has been open for nearly a year now.

“We wanted to protest that this wind farm is in an inappropriate place.

“It is in a very flat dished landscape. There is no mitigation of these large whirling turbines - there are 22, and more proposed, and we wanted to tell Mr Ewing that the Government cannot ignore the fact that it has a profound effect on homeowners and neighbours of the wind farms, not just the local communities who may be five miles away but on those who live within a kilometre or less.

“There are many, many of us throughout the UK, not just here, who live near a wind farm who may be affected by blight, who may not be able to sell their property because either a pending wind farm application or an existing wind farm is putting people off.

“The Government are going to be doing research into this but we want to speak to Mr Ewing and will be doing so on October 9 in the Parliament building and telling him and his research team that their proposals are potentially inadequate.

“They should be speaking to people who cannot sell their houses and are affected by blight and do not get any compensation and where communities local to wind farms get handed out a pittance, in this particular case, and we the neighbours of wind farms get absolutely nothing.

“Our finances are tied up in houses that we own and we cannot move.”

Explaining the ministers non appearance and the need to cancel the opening, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Mr Ewing wrote to AES on September 23, to inform organisers that due to diary pressures unfortunately he was no longer able to attend the opening at Drone Hill wind farm.

“The Minister has offered a separate meeting to discuss AES’s community benefits policy more widely later on in the year.”