Friday, 1 November 2013

A Big Win From A Small Village

Vattenfall can huff and puff, but it couldn’t blow this village down on Tuesday when the Formartine Area Committee voted against a substation that was proposed to be built only 400 feet from residential housing in Blackdog.

That’s right. After months of tireless attempts to have their voices heard, a petitions, hundreds of sent letters, and support from thousands of people throughout the world Blackdog won and commonsense prevailed, at least for now.

Tuesday’s decision was covered by numerous outlets, including BBC, STV, Northsound, Evening Express, Ellon Times, and P&J.

Protect Blackdog leaders Edna Booth and Nicola Brown shed light on the decision just after it was rendered:

"In the past, other campaigners had attempted to stand up and protest. But, in the end, they usually had to give way to the big companies, who dumped their rubbish next to our community. It was as if because we only had 80-odd houses, that they could act as they please. But we decided that we would do everything we possibly could to fight against these substations.

In a concise and pointed statement, Edna noted:

“Our village is already surrounded by 19 landfills, one of which is the second most contaminated parcels of land in all of Scotland,” says Edna Booth, with a firm click of her jaw.
“Why has this small beach town been targeted as an industrial dead zone? We don’t want to live 400 feet from a substation, to convert greenery into a cement block that will take months of aggravation to build. I don’t think this is too much to ask.”
While this is a crucial win, it is well worth noting that Vattenfall will have the opportunity to appeal the decision.

“If they do, we’ll be ready,” said Nicola. “Although it is our primary concern, there is more at stake than just the substation. It’s about respect for our village. We may have fewer than 100 houses in Blackdog, but that does not mean that we will be accept being overpowered or silenced by a company who thinks it knows our own good better than we do.”

Thank you to everyone who dedicated their time, effort, thoughts, and prayers to our cause. We could not have done it without you. Please continue to follow our blog as we wait for the government to solidify their decision and chase Vattenfall out for good.

 If you would like to read some of the articles written about Blackdog, please see the following links:

Friday, 11 October 2013

11 October 2013

Majority of Blackdog Residents File Objections to Vattenfall EIA
Nearly 90 percent of Blackdog Households Objected to EOWDC Wind Farm Substation

Blackdog, Scotland:

Just over 60 households objected to the substation Vattenfall proposed to build over an old and contaminated landfill 400 feet away from their homes. As the late October decision day for the Formartine Area Committee nears, the Protect Blackdog movement is gaining momentum. Local leaders collected and recently filed 74 residents’ objections to Vattenfall’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), over ten more than last time, with the planning office. The objections addressed the dangers vehicle movements will pose during construction, Vattenfall’s transparency and blemished history, and other points of interest.

The small beach town has been opposing Vattenfall’s substation for months, fighting for their right to safe and peaceful living conditions. Despite public pleas, an online petition, and the majority of the village formally objecting on numerous occasions, the Committee has yet to make their decision.

“Our village is already surrounded by 19 landfills, one of which is the second most contaminated parcel of land in all of Scotland. You can see the oil still oozing onto the beach years later,” says Edna Booth, a local Protect Blackdog leader. “Why has this small beach town been targeted as an industrial dead zone? We don’t want to live 400 feet from a substation, to convert greenery into a cement block that will take months of aggravation to build. I don’t think this is too much to ask.”

The upshot is that Vattenfall is no stranger to dealing with local villages. In August, the company sought to destroy a church and the homes of 800 people in a small village in East Germany in order to expand a brown coal, open-cast mine. Also in August, it was reported that Vattenfall is planning to build a wind farm spanning two forests in South-West Scotland. Clearly the deceptive and manipulative tactics that earned the company its 2009 Climate Greenwash Award for being the “master of spin” are still being employed.
In the coming weeks, Blackdog leaders and residents hope that the Committee will rule in their favour and deny Vattenfall another chance to ruin a small, old town. For additional information about the issue, please refer to the group’s petition:

-          Edna Booth (01224702139)
-          Nicola Brown (01224825202)

For additional Information, please refer to the following:

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

In the Press! P&J Covers Blackdog Substation!

With the Formartine Area Committee about to make its decision on the substation on 29 of October, Blackdog village has received international support online through its petition. 

Numerous news outlets have been keeping the substation issue alive, and this is merely another addition. See the below image to read the article about Blackdog and Trump Organisation's vow to fight against Vattenfall!

We wholeheartedly hope that if we can't defeat this substation Donald Trump will.

Please remember, every signature counts in these high pressure times. 

Sign here to tell the Formatine Area Committee that you support our fight for safe and peaceful living, substation free:

Friday, 30 August 2013

Vattenfall: Do They Really Care?

Over this entire proposal process, Vattenfall has continuously promised to keep Blackdog informed, but being informed, although very nice, is not always as promising -- or as helpful -- as it sounds.

Despite their promise, we thought it would be important for the world to know that Vattenfall is not as open as they appear to be.


According to the EOWDC Spokesman, "Should the development proceed, we will of course implement all proper control measures in terms of health and safety, environmental protection and waste disposal.

The Spokesman also noted that "It is not unusual to find traces of asbestos in brownfield cites such as this...."

In other words, Vattenfall knew that there would likely be asbestos on the landfill site (we have been saying this for months!), and they have repeatedly stated that they will be taking the proper precautions.

Apparently, implementing "all proper" precautions did not include protecting the workers conducting the EIA with asbestos equipment -- like masks. 

The following photos were sent to us from local residents during the time the EIA was being conducted. Do the workers look like they are ready for asbestos exposure to you?

The recent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Vattenfall completed revealed that, indeed, the Strabathie landfill site is contaminated with asbestos.

What does all of this mean?

Vattenfall does not care. They do not care about their workers (if they did, the above people would be wearing protective equipment!) They do not care about Blackdog. In fact, they do not even care about the environment!

Just a few days ago, Vattenfall proposed building 50 turbines in a woodland. Somehow, replacing trees with turbines is counter-intuitive 

In 2009, Vattenfall won the Climate Greenwash Award:

"Swedish energy company Vattenfall is a master of spin when it comes to climate change, portraying itself as a climate champion while lobbying to continue business as usual, using coal, nuclear power, and pseudo-solutions such as agrofuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS)."

Help us keep Vattenfall out of the North Sea and our vilage by signing our petition: 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Blackdog Resident Concerns Proven Correct!

News release
Low levels of contamination found in ground near Aberdeenshire village

Partners behind economically strategic offshore wind development promise to improve environment near Blackdog if substation proposal approved

Site investigations carried out near Blackdog, Aberdeenshire, as part of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) development have shown, as predicted by the project partners, low level traces of asbestos in the ground.

The findings of a detailed report have been submitted to Aberdeenshire Council following a request to bring forward necessary site investigations by the Formartine Area Committee. If the proposal for an electricity substation at Blackdog is given the go ahead by the Committee later this year, the project partners will improve ground conditions in the area by carefully removing the asbestos.

Iain Todd, project spokesman for the EOWDC, said: “It is not unusual to find traces of asbestos in brownfield sites such as this, where there are areas of former industrial workings including a former landfill, and the site investigation findings are generally as expected. Should the development proceed, we will of course implement all proper control measures in terms of health and safety, environmental protection and waste disposal.

“The partners behind the EOWDC have always informed the local community of their commitment to improving any areas of ground where contaminants are discovered if consent is granted for the onshore works in order to render it safe for development. Indeed, we believe any such remediation work required would greatly improve the condition of the site.

“Before the partners behind the EOWDC submitted the planning application for the onshore works, a detailed environmental appraisal of the proposed development was carried out to professional standards even though the planning service deemed that this was not required. The appraisal was conducted to ensure careful and diligent consideration is given to minimising potential environmental impacts from the proposed development, throughout its lifetime.

“We hope that both the detailed impact assessment and the site investigation findings, will be taken into consideration when Formartine Area Committee meets to make its decision on the development.”

The project partners behind the EOWDC have submitted an Environmental Statement (ES) to Aberdeenshire Council which completes the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed EOWDC substation and an underground cable route. The ES also confirms earlier predictions of the possibility of minor contamination from preliminary investigative works previously carried out as part of the initial planning application submitted for the onshore works element of the EOWDC.

The onshore works form a vital component of the EOWDC which has been widely recognised by industry as strategically important to accelerating the development of the offshore wind industry and demonstrating next generation technology. It would also play a significant role in helping Aberdeen City and Shire diversify its energy-based economy by attracting inward investment and creating significant job and business opportunities as well as delivering more than £7billion in added value to the UK economy.
In March, 2013, the Scottish Government consented the EOWDC which has also seen the European Union earmark up to40 million in grant funding as part of its economic recovery programme

As a cutting-edge demonstration facility for up to 11 turbines and associated technology which, with expected capital expenditure of more than £230 million, the EOWDC would prove to be a major investment in Scotland’s renewables infrastructure and a vital boost to its offshore wind ambitions.

Formartine Area Committee requested the site investigation after deferring its decision on whether to grant planning permission for the onshore elements of the EOWDC in April. This request followed a public hearing and calls for further detail on the site’s ground composition.
Fieldwork for the site investigation included geotechnical surveys and a series of boreholes and trial pits on land to the south east of Blackdog over a period of four weeks during June and July. In addition, periodic gas and groundwater monitoring is continuing over a period of at least three months in order to complete the picture of site conditions.
Analysis identified low level traces of asbestos fibre within one of the soil samples tested amongst significant deposits of inert materials such as rubble, bricks and other building materials.

Mr Todd said: “Such deposits are typical of a former brickworks landfill and the identification of traces of asbestos will help to inform construction phase controls. This would be further detailed in the Construction Phase Management Plan to which Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Ltd (AOWFL) – the joint venture behind the EOWDC - would be committed under the terms of the planning permission if it is granted.”

The ES includes details of the investigative works conducted on site, the results of which correspond with the predictions of an earlier desk study carried out prior to submission of the initial planning application in December 2012. They also correspond with the conclusions of geo-environmental ground investigations carried out on behalf of a land owner at the site on four different occasions between 2002 and 2004.
The desk study report also concluded that, given the site’s industrial history, further investigations were key to ensure that the appropriate control measures could be implemented during construction. The Formatine Area Committee request for more information on ground conditions brought this necessary work forward.
AOWFL is the joint venture between Vattenfall and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group that is driving forward the EOWDC project along with consortium partner, Technip Offshore Wind Limited.

AOWFL’s planning application for a cable route and substation compound on land to the south-east of Blackdog village would form part of the onshore connection between the proposed EOWDC and the National Electricity Transmission System.

The proposed development would comprise two electricity substation buildings and ancillary works on land south of Hareburn Terrace and an underground cable route between the substation site and landfall. The route between the substation site and grid connection at Dyce would be managed separately by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).
Ends (28.8.13)

Issued by The BIG Partnership. For more information, please contact Karen Grant on +44 1224 615009 or +44 7734 617 056 or
Note: Sole responsibility for this document lies with the author.
The European Union (EU) is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Why You Shouldn't Trust Big Wind Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)

After we started the petition, Vattenfall quickly submitted its EIA report. Perhaps we are making them nervous. What do you think?

Influential groups, journalists, activists, campaigners, and online friends joined together to push the Protect Blackdog movement forward.

Here's a link to our petition: 

Some may wonder why we are so scared by Vattenfall unearthing the Strabathie landfill. The Government seems to believe -- with Vattenfall reassuring, of course -- that it can address any potential contamination issue posed by the landfill.

Not long ago, a travellers site was proposed to be built in Blackdog, but our small village was quickly removed from the list of proposed locations.


For "environmental reasons."

But Vattenfall doesn't seem to mind. It's workers were digging boreholes for the EIA without protection. When asked about their work, they didn't even know that they were digging over a possibly contaminated landfill.

See the picture sent to us by a resident below:

If other plans have been terminated because of the status of Blackdog's land, then why is Vattenfall's project any different? Why must we continues to live our lives as if we are not concerned? Why must we live 400 feet from a loud substation of a behemoth that blots yet another plot of land.

Blackdog has had its fair share of difficulties. Today we need democracy on our side. We need your signature because it seems that the over 70% objection by the village members was not enough.

Below is the article concerning the travellers site:

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Vattenfall Submitting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Yesterday, Vattenfall informed Blackdog village that it will be submitting its EIA, and soon it will be up to the Formartine Area Committee to decide what happens in Blackdog. 

The document the residents received is below.

In these times, it is simple to pass over something, but imagine this:

Imagine buying a home in a beach town that was formerly used as a dumping ground. You think that the dumping is all in the past.

Imagine you have a path to walk on the beach -- on the side that is not contaminated by oil.

Imagine tracks of green and still being able to see the shore, walk to the shore.

Now imagine a big wind company came into YOUR town, decided to tell YOU and YOUR neighbours that it was going to take that away. 

Want to walk to the beach?  Enjoy the view of the substation or take the path covered with woods, which is much less pleasant. 

Want to see the sea? Gaze in a different direction because a substation is ruining the view.

Want to let the children play as before? Keep them inside so that the lorries don't endanger them.

Without your signature, this is the future of Blackdog. We don't know about you, but we will not stand for it.

Friday, 16 August 2013

 200 Signatures, Press, and a Heartfelt Message

Just recently, the Ellon Times featured the Blackdog petition on the front page, and we received our 200th signature!

This is a big milestone. Over 60 residencies, nestled among 19 landfills, objected to having a substation built 400 feet away from their homes, but Vattenfall is continuing with their plan.

As more people find out about the petition, the signatures are slowly flowing in. 

Some of you reading this may agree about the cause and still refrain from signing.

Maybe signing petitions is not for you, or maybe you don't like placing your name next to controversial issues, but before you leave this page, we here at Protect Blackdog would like to tell you something.

We are not asking for money.

We are not asking for long term commitments.

We are not asking for you to find and contact local officials (but that would be greatly appreciated!).


We will take care of all those details.

All we are asking is for you to place your name next to ours, next to the names of the more than 60 residencies that are fighting to protect their small town.

In short, we need your help.

Monday, 12 August 2013

In the Press!

Although the petition has only been active for a few days, Blackdog petition leaders have already received press inquiries! The "Evening Express" and "Press and Journal" immediately covered the story. 

The Protect Blackdog movement is gaining force, and as additional people hear about the petition, signatures will continue to materialise.

Will you add your name to the list? Read the Blackdog story here:

Evening Express

Press and Journal

Friday, 9 August 2013

Strabathie Landfill
How Bad Could It Be?

At this juncture, most have probably started hearing about what is going on in Blackdog. Vattenfall, an energy company, has chosen to build a large substation over the now closed Strabathie landfill, and Vattenfall has been all too quick to say that uncovering the property to construct is nothing less than safe.

But Blackdog village strongly disagrees.

Strabathie has been reportedly operational since the 1930s, but it was licensed as a landfill in 1978. That means, that there is a 50 year window when anyone could dump anything they wished into the unlined earth. Without detailed records, this also means that no one can possibly know for certain what found its way into that landfill.

What could have been dumped there?

This is what the local residents, many of whom have lived in Blackdog their whole lives, remember:

1) Thirty lorry loads of asbestos used for insulation was dumped in the 1950s. 
2) “Rodine,” a brand of rat poison banned from use, was disposed of by the Council. 
3) Red oxide paints (believed to contain lead). 
4) Old cars and batteries 
5) Tyres from RAF Dyce 
6) Old building materials 
7) Human waste 
8) Deceased farm animals

Vattenfall is trying to convince the Formartine Area Committee that any possible contamination could be addressed, but there is reason to be concerned.

Look at the picture below. See that white spot? This picture was taken by a local resident as the construction workers were digging. Maybe the threat of asbestos is greater than Vattenfall thought, but they will never admit it.

As long as the workers are wearing proper equipment, there's no problem, right?

But, as a resident who spoke to them explained, the workers were not told that they were digging above an old landfill, let along a landfill that could contain dangerous substances.

The following is a sign from another landfill near the residents, the Toxic Beachside Tip. But this will have to wait for another day...

Friday, 2 August 2013

Welcome to the Protect Blackdog Blog!

Blackdog is a small village in Scotland made up of 82 houses. It is so small, that most will probably not even know that it exists, let alone where it is located.

And this has made it easy for the small, scenic beach-side village to become a local dumping ground for numerous decades. The residents of Blackdog are surrounded by 19 landfills, many of which were operational before regulations were put into effect. 

The little village almost became the home to a large garbage incinerator.

The Blackdog Beachside Tip landfill is the second most contaminated parcel of land in all of Scotland. Once again, Blackdog was blessed -- or shall we say cursed -- by its close proximity.

A recent occurrence, however, has the entire village angry and worried, because it has, once again, been chosen for yet another project.

Vattenfall, an energy company, has chosen Blackdog as the site for its electrical substation. It will connect the controversial EOWDC wind farm to the mainland through the village.

Unfortunately for the residents, the substation will be built approximately 60 feet from several houses, and it will be constructed over the Strabathie landfill, which was unlicensed until 1978.

Why are the people worried?

First, Blackdog has few amenities. An area of the beach is polluted by the Beachside Tip, and the location of this substation is one of the few peaceful places left. 

Who would want to live near a substation?

Second, digging up a landfill in order to build the substation is a bad idea. The landfill was unregulated for nearly 50 years, since it has been reportedly operational since the 1930s. That means that anything could be deep below the surface. 

Residents remember some of the following being dumped there: lorry loads of asbestos in the 1950s; "Rodine", a brand of rat poison that was discarded by the Council after it was banned; red oxide paints; cars and batteries; and tyres from RAF Dyce -- just to name a few possibilities.

This blog was created to document was is happening in Blackdog. The village may be small, but it has a big voice.