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Frustration as windfarm proposals keep on coming  

Campaigners against the advance of wind turbines on north-east farmland are furious over plans for two new windmills.

A group of concerned villagers in the Barthol Chapel area, near Ellon, are already meeting to lobby their local councillor over a number of recent planning applications.

They claim “piecemeal” development will lead to one large, poorly-designed windfarm covering a vast swathe of countryside.

The two new applications cover land to the north of the village, near Methlick.

Farmers in the hilly area around the River Ythan hope to capitalise on the geography of the land to diversify their businesses and tackle spiralling energy costs.

The local authority has backed a number of individual wind turbines in the region but raised concern about their cumulative effect on the landscape.

Robert Barker helped form the Barthol Chapel Community Association windfarm group following an earlier application, lodged under the name “Methlick Farmers”.

The proposals detail six turbines, as high as 295ft, which would be constructed around the village if planning consent is granted. Of the latest application, he said: “It exemplifies the point we’re trying to make. These things are likely to coalesce and the impact on Aberdeenshire will be that we’re going to be covered by one huge windfarm.”

The application, for land at Hill of Balquhindachy, brings the total of proposed turbines at the same farm to three. An earlier plan was lodged in February last year.

Applicant Grant Mackie could not be reached for comment.

Aberdeenshire councillors have previously called for a report on all windfarms to be made available as they progress through the planning stages.

The authority has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2020, emphasising its commitment to renewable energy.

Councillors on the local Formartine area committee cannot discuss applications ahead of official meetings. The committee last month approved three turbines for hilltops at St John’s Wells, near Fyvie.

Belhelvie councillor Debra Storr, who backed the project, said at the time: “The countryside is largely a manmade artefact. It’s a managed landscape and part of an agricultural industry.”

The Barthol Chapel group will meet at 7.30pm tonight at the church hall.

By Andy Philip

thisisnorthscotland.co.uk

10 April 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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