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Aberdeen harbour boss plans to fight windfarm amid safety fears  

Aberdeen Harbour Board yesterday vowed to oppose the current plans for an offshore windfarm near the Granite City.

Chief executive Colin Parker said the proposed development posed a danger to shipping entering and leaving the port.

He also warned that shopping and housing developments in the heart of Aberdeen would inhibit future growth and hamper the city’s potential generally.

Mr Parker said the harbour board was not opposed to the idea of a windfarm, but the current plans for 23 turbines offshore meant they would interfere with vital shipping radar. The port boss was speaking as the harbour board celebrated the opening of its £4.5million marine operations centre at Footdee.

Originally 33 wind turbines were planned, running in two rows from Aberdeen to Newburgh, when the project was announced in September 2003.

The revised scheme took the turbines further away from US tycoon Donald Trump’s proposed £300million golf resort at Menie Estate, near Balmedie.

Mr Trump had threatened to scrap his project if turbines spoiled the view for golfers.

But the new site for the windfarm, while now outside the port limit, has raised concerns among harbour users on operational and safety grounds.

Mr Parker said: “It is a serious concern to the safe navigation of vessels and we will resist and fight the application.”

The developers of the windfarm, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (Areg) and project management services firm Amec, aim to hold another public consultation before submitting a planning application to Scottish ministers next year.

Mr Parker also criticised the decision to scrap a rail yard to make way for 1,700 parking spaces for the new Union Square shopping development.

He warned that new rail-freight facilities being created at Craiginches and at Raith’s Farm, Dyce, could result in more heavy lorries on the road. The existing yard would have been the ideal site for an integrated transport hub, he said, adding: “Closing the yard is a lost opportunity for the city.”

Luxury flat developments in the harbour area were another concern for the port bosses.

Mr Parker said: “People will move into these new flats and then complain when they are woken at 2am by noisy ships.”

Despite the “unhelpful” developments, the 72ft new marine operations centre coincides with a period of increasing business activity at the harbour.

Last year saw records smashed, with 8,300 vessels bringing in 4.85million tonnes of cargo and 140,000 passengers. This year is predicted to be an even busier one for the port.


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