A man living next door to the site of a proposed electricity substation has voiced his anger at the “blatant disregard” of the developers for his property and its private water supply.
Resident David Smith spoke at a pre-determination hearing for Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ (SSEN) planned substation on land next to Wood of Middleton near his home.
The proposed development by SSEN consists of a platform area, control building, associated plant and infrastructure, ancillary facilities, access track and additional landscape work including a SUDS pond.
Mr Smith said he feared the site would be diverting “at least 50%” of his own ground water supply and that his home’s bore hole would “dry up” due to the positioning of the pond.
He added: “I have only seen someone from SSEN once in seven years – and that was when they came to take a sample of my water.
“They have blatantly shown disregard for my concerns and cannot promise me that my water will be unaffected.
“They did say they would be able to connect me to the mains – but two miles from the mains in Rothienorman and uphill all the way – I don’t fancy their chances on that.”
The energy company has permission to build the substation, but some changes have been made to the proposed site layout – which means a new planning application must now be discussed by councillors.
Councillors visited the site on Wednesday and were then offered a chance to ask the developers questions.
Issues relating to the SUDS pond, noise levels, lighting and electromagnetic fields were all raised – as well as concerns over the disruption to private water supplies to nearby properties.
Aberdeenshire Council’s planning officer, James Hewitt, explained that the substation was part of a wider program to upgrade the electricity network and would be the intersection point of the two power lines originating from Blackhillock and Peterhead.
SSEN’s Lauren Riach said the plans would not “impair” any private water supplies and they would be monitoring “before, during and after” construction.
When answering questions about light pollution, Ms Riach said: “Due to the rural location, the site will be operated as a dark site.
“There may be some lights used during the construction period though, depending on the time of year.”
The plans will now go to both the Formartine and Garioch area committees for comments before a final decision will be made by the full council on January, 19 2019.
Last night a spokesman from SSEN said: “As a responsible developer, we have carried out rigorous environmental assessments in the local area ahead of our application, and further testing and monitoring will be undertaken as the planning application progresses.
“Based on the information gathered to date, we believe that the plans for our new substation will not have any impact on local water supplies.
“We want to do everything we can to make sure that members of the local community are kept updated throughout the progress of our planning application. Since July this year our community liaison manager and members of the project team have visited local businesses and residents on two separate occasions, and we are committed to continuing with this engagement programme throughout the planning process.”