Scottish town blows off GSK's wind turbine plan

Montrose residents and local officials say GSK's proposed wind turbines would be eyesores in the picturesque town.--Courtesy of Alan Morrison and Wikipedia

Some of the world's largest drugmakers are working to lower their environmental impact and since manufacturing is a high-energy process, plants are often where they aim their efforts. Pfizer has retrofitted its massive Freiburg, Germany, plant so that more than 90% of the site's energy comes from renewable sources. But just because changes are good for the environment, doesn't mean locals will like the looks of them, as GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is finding out with plans to partially power a plant with wind.

In the coastal town of Montrose, Scotland, townspeople want to put the kibosh on GSK's plans to install two wind turbines, and local officials appear to share their sentiments.

When word got out last year that GSK sought to erect two, 426-feet-high wind turbines at the API manufacturing plant, the local community and Scottish historic trusts reacted by filing more than 360 objections and circulating a 254-signature-petition, according to the Montrose Review. Their reasons are mostly aesthetic: Two large, unsightly turbines would be eyesores among nearby landmarks and townscape. Recognizing those issues, development officials in Angus, where Montrose is located, recommend that Angus councilors reject GSK's application to install the turbines because of potential noise issues and "significant adverse landscape and visual impacts" to the town.

A GSK spokesman told the Review that it is disappointed in the opposition but will just wait to see how the councilors vote. 

The £8 million ($12.6 million) project in Montrose is one of many GSK efforts to cut its carbon footprint by 2050. And it isn't the only Big Pharma embracing the green movement. In the last four years, Pfizer ($PFE) has cut its greenhouse gas emissions 20%, achieving $85 million in annualized savings. 

- get more from the Review