Plans for a small-scale windfarm on the outskirts of Stonehaven were yesterday thrown out by councillors due to air safety concerns.
Councillors from the Kincardine and Mearns area committee agreed in principle with the proposal to build four 256ft wind turbines on agricultural land at Clochnahill, four miles south of Stonehaven, but agreed that public safety was paramount.
Local authority planners recommended refusal of the proposals, which would produce enough energy to power almost 3,000 homes, because of its interference with operations at Aberdeen Airport.
The British Airports Authority said the scheme lies 18 miles south-west of the aerodrome reference point for Aberdeen Airport and the turbines could “cause false returns” on the air traffic controller screens resulting in planes having to be rerouted from the area.
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting, Douglas Gray, acting head of development control and building standards for Aberdeenshire Council, said: “The drawback with this application is unfortunately air traffic safety.
“This is really the crux of the matter. It is the only significant issues at fault with the application.
“With an issue such as air traffic safety I don’t think a planning officer can be cavalier enough to disregard these concerns.”
Applicant Hugh Gordon said the scheme would have a minimal impact on the environment and did not raise any health issues.
His sister Isobel Gordon added: “It is located just over a mile within the boundary of controlled air safety. Air safety will not be diminished.”
But Mearns North councillor George Swapp said the issue of air traffic safety was a serious matter.
Newtonhill, Muchalls and Cammachmore councillor Carl Nelson said: “It’s unfortunate really when community councils are supporting it and everyone seems to be very much in favour.
“But this is an extremely important matter concerning the safety of airplanes and air passengers.”
And Stonehaven South councillor Wendy Agnew said safety was not an issue to “play around with”.
By Amelia Whittaker
21 March 2007
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