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Ministers end four-year campaign by rejecting windfarm proposals  

Ministers put an end to a long-running saga yesterday when they rejected controversial plans to erect 37 wind turbines at a forest near Huntly in Aberdeenshire.

The proposal, submitted by wind energy firm Amec, had attracted criticism from local protest group Friends of the Clash, who claimed it was a mistake to clear woodland to make room for the farm.

Last night Amec’s managing director David Hodkinson said he was surprised and disappointed at the decision.

The firm first applied for consent to construct a windfarm at Clashindarroch near Huntly in July 2003. The original proposal for 47 turbines was later reduced after a number of objections were received.

Amec then asked for permission to increase the structures by 22ft, taking the total height to 351ft and despite a plea from councillors and objectors, the council over-ruled officials’ recommendations to reject that request.

In May 2006 the proposals were the subject of a public inquiry due to objections relating to landscape and wildlife concerns – and yesterday ministers accepted the findings and refused consent.

Mr Hodkinson, managing director of Amec’s wind energy business claimed the decision went against the views of the majority and said the public inquiry had been unique because “no statutory body appeared to oppose the development”.”

Huntly councillor Moira Ingleby said it was her personal view that the right decision had been made.

The Press & Journal

11 September 2007

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