Scotland — Compensation and Blight

We moved to High Tralorg in 1988 with the understanding that we would not realistically be able to end our days here. The steading is a half mile from the nearest road, (very narrow and dangerous) and 7 miles from the nearest town of Girvan.  The weather can be far more severe than at sea level and results in us frequently being snowed in, as the track is too dangerous to attempt.

We thought we would be able to have 25 to30 years here before our health failed and we would either have to sell or hand over to our son. He was only 8 at the time and there was no telling what sort of career he would pursue. Our objective was to spend money on the house and be able to sell for a sum which would help us through our retirement.

We are not rich, my husband was a staff sergeant in the army and I had to give up my career in the civil service to look after my son who suffered with what would now be recognised as dyspraxia, requiring constant care. Hadyard Hill windfarm has changed everything and has left us with no possible and practical way of extricating ourselves from our present situation. Even if the noise issue were addressed, the overwhelming nature of the  30 plus turbines that twirl and flicker in front of us, means that no sensible person, seeking a peaceful cottage in the country with scenic views, would buy the place.

The threat of two further wind farms to the side of us and behind the house, Assel Valley and Tralorg Hill, means that we could be 320 degrees encircled, if these were to go ahead.

We had plans drawn for the house which we hoped would mitigate the effects of the noise but whilst we were clearing the house for this purpose we were notified of the additional windfarms. These would cause flicker every sunny day and summer evening and would make the house unlivable. We are therefore living in one room, with the bathrooms partially dismantled, no central heating or oven and the majority of our furniture under dustsheets in the centre of the other rooms, whilst we await the outcome of the Assel Valley and Tralorg Hill hearings.

Since the Holyrood hearing last Spring, my health  has deteriorated, particularly the state of my eyes, and I am also awaiting the results of biopsies to see if my cancer has returned. The direct impact of the turbines upon one’s health may be debatable, although I believe I do suffer from a variety of complaints due to the proximity of the windfarms.

What is not debateable however is the level of stress that one suffers and this has a severe effect upon one’s immune system, thus allowing opportunistic illnesses such as cancer and shingles, and rheumatoid arthritis to occur. As I cannot tolerate the eternal twirling of the blades viewed out of every window, I live with my curtains drawn and do not go outside of the house unless it is essential. I take a variety of tablets to counteract my low levels of vitamin D, heart palpitations and labyrinthitis (general dizziness), which I feel sure are caused by, firstly lack of daylight, and secondly by the infrasound to which I am subjected on a daily basis.

The house is positioned directly in front of the blades so the sound waves are directed straight at us. With no possibility of selling the house for any reasonable commercial price, and with too little money to afford anything other than wreck of a house in some slum, what are we to do when we can no longer live up here?

I understand that if one leaves one’s house voluntarily, then one cannot claim help from the local authority. Alternatively, if we became so ill that we had to move, I have a horrid feeling that the local authority would insist that we sold the house, however little we received, before they would help us.

I refuse to sell my home for a few pennies, especially as it would probably be sold to the very people who had engineered the situation in the first place, ie the developers.

It is like something out of the Wild West, with the baddies buying up the water holes and holding the other ranchers to ransom. Until there is some reasonable compensation for people in the same situation as ourselves, then frankly, an early and sudden death is our only hope.

Kay Siddell.

(About the author:  Kay and her husband John live in a 400 year old steading (shepherd’s cottage) in Scotland.   They have 52 wind turbines with a height of 110m in front of the house, and two further submissions are shortly to be determined for 25 more behind and to the side.)

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