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Ill wind still blows for revived turbine plan

Revived plans for a Donside windfarm have triggered renewed protest action in the rural area, despite being on a significantly reduced scale.

Perth-based npower Renewables last year dropped proposals for an 11-turbine development between Lumsden and Mossat, after 200 letters of objection to the 32ft structures were sent to planners.

Having originally identified the area as suitable for up to 20 turbines given layout and wind strength, the energy firm is now seeking planning permission from Aberdeenshire Council for a development of eight wind turbines, access tracks and service structures at Clashnarae Hill, near Kildrummy.

The 286-hectare site, owned by Kildrummy Estate, is currently forest and moorland.

A spokesman for npower said plans for the site had been completely revised to take into account previous concerns and the company will now host two local exhibition sessions next month at Lumsden.

“The previous application was withdrawn before it could go before councillors in March last year, but it was clear that the firm intended to come back with another plan,” said Lumsden farmer Douglas Williamson, secretary of the Kildrummy Windfarm Action Group which spearheaded a previous protest campaign in the area.

He said npower had responded to previous concerns over the scale of the windfarm – cutting both the number of turbines and their height – but said many residents still questioned the impact of the scheme on the area.

The group was convinced at the time of the first proposal that better alternative sites than an environmentally-important bogland habitat and area popular with hillwalkers could be found.

There were also worries over the effect of the windfarm development on the Mossat Burn.

The action group is now gearing up to lobby all previous objectors and local residents over the renewed scheme.

Mr Williamson said: “The group has been very effective in having the scheme scaled down, but feels there are still major environmental problems involved. The development is simply inappropriate.”

Yesterday npower’s project manager Mark Crawford said: “We would encourage people to come along and see for themselves what is planned, and take the opportunity to discuss the project at first-hand. Kildrummy is a very windy site, but the turbines are now virtually hidden.

“The revised scheme had been developed through taking on board previous concerns.”

Alongside a reduction in turbine numbers, the height of turbines was being reduced by more than 20ft.

Mr Crawford said turbine performance would still be maintained, with the windfarm producing 16MW input to the national grid.

He added: “I am confident local people will see the very positive benefits the project will bring.”

Npower will host open display sessions at Lumsden Village Hall from 3pm-9.30pm on February 21 and 22.

The action group can be contacted on birkenbower@hotmail.com or on 01464 861724.

By Alistair Beaton