A farmer has been granted permission to build three wind turbines, in the hope of making his family business more viable.
Approval was given despite concerns that hills close to the farm, near Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, were becoming cluttered with windmills.
John Sleigh, who works the farm at St John’s Wells with his brothers and parents, said harnessing wind power would help cut rising energy bills.
He outlined his case to councillors on the Formartine area committee, meeting in Ellon yesterday.
Mr Sleigh said his family had been there for more than 100 years and he wanted to do all he could to provide a future for his children there.
“There are difficulties in the agriculture industry in making it viable for the next generation,” he said.
“My children are mad keen on farming, and we need to make sure it’s suitable for them.”
He employed Borders-based Green Cat Renewables to design the turbines, which will be built at Hill of Blairfowl.
The machines, which will stand 260ft, are expected to generate enough power for about 2,400 homes.
Objectors said the three windmills will clutter a landscape already dotted with individual turbines at neighbouring farms.
Stuart Smith, who lives close to the site, said: “It’s not diversification, it’s an unprecedented invasion of industrial machines across Aberdeenshire.”
However, the committee unanimously backed the official recommendation to approve the windmills.
Councillor Debra Storr said: “The countryside is largely a manmade artefact. It’s a managed landscape and part of an agricultural industry.”
21 March 2007
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