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Community divided over plans for wind turbines  

Hundreds of people living in rural Aberdeenshire have expressed their fears – and their hopes – about mutimillion-pound controversial plans to construct six 300ft-high wind turbines near their homes.

There are five separate applications, from a group calling themselves the Methlick Farmers, and each has attracted more than 400 representations – almost evenly split between letters of support and objections.

Now councillors on the Formartine area committee have the task of deciding whether or not to give the plans the go-ahead.

In a report to go before the committee on Tuesday, planning officers recommend refusal for all applications, proposed for land near Methlick, Oldmeldrum and St Katherines in Aberdeenshire.

Officers claim they would have “an adverse impact on the character of the area” and “an unacceptable cumulative impact” due to their height.

It says: “There is no disguising the visual impact of the proposal, 295ft (90m) tall structures will be clearly seen in the surrounding area. The planning service considers that the proposed height of these turbines is too large and therefore is inappropriate in this landscape.”

In addition, officers claim the turbines would interfere with the radar and air traffic control systems at Aberdeen Airport.

Members of the public opposed to the plans reiterated fears over the appearance of the turbines in a rural setting, claiming it could affect tourism, devalue house prices, create noise pollution and endanger wildlife.

A group was set up earlier in the year by members of the Barthol Chapel Community Association to oppose what they branded as “piecemeal” construction of wind turbines across the area.

Last night one objector George Simpson, of Tulloford Mill, near Haddo Estate, said a public hearing, held at Beaton Hall, Methlick, last Tuesday, had a good turnout of supporters and objectors.

He said: “I feel the objectors put forward a very good and lucid case. There’s a fairly robust recommendation to refuse all five applications and we would hope that the councillors would take the advice of the professionals.”

In the report to go before councillors, supporters of the project say the turbines are essential for creating sustainable energy and argue the turbines themselves could become a tourist attraction. They say the population in the area is small and scattered, making it suitable for a windfarm project.

The Methlick Farmers, John Lind sen, John Lind jun and Ernie Lee, drew up their plans in September last year. They had been due to hear a decision on the plans in April and accused councillors of a “cop out” for setting up the public hearing.

Their plans have been put forward as an attempt to supplement income from arable and mixed farming.

The Press and Journal

21 June 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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