A public inquiry into plans for a windfarm, which it had been claimed could interfere with aircraft landing in Aberdeen, was held yesterday.
Government reporter Roger Wilson was at Kinneff Village Hall to hear an appeal against Aberdeenshire Council’s rejection of four 256ft turbines at Clochnahill, four miles south of Stonehaven.
It was thrown out by members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee in March amid safety concerns that turbines could interfere with aircraft heading for Aberdeen Airport.
At the time the British Airports Authority said the scheme could cause false returns on the air traffic controller screens, resulting in planes having to be rerouted from the area.
Just weeks before the appeal was due to be heard however, BAA withdrew their objection.
As a result Aberdeenshire Council elected not to speak at the inquiry, stating in a letter to the reporter that it no longer wished to oppose the scheme.
Nicholas Edwards, acting on behalf of the applicant Hugh Gordon, said there were no longer any valid reasons to reject the windfarm, which could produce enough energy to power almost 3,000 homes.
He also suggested that a request by BAA for a bond, should the scheme go ahead, could not be substantiated.
The authority wants Mr Gordon to make a contribution towards a software patch to negate any impact the windfarm could have on radars.
Mr Edwards said no evidence had been produced to demonstrate that any potential effects would be significant enough to require technical mitigation.
In addition to safety issues, the reporter also considered the visual impact the development would have on the surrounding landscape, visiting the site and other key vantage points, including Stonehaven War Memorial and Drumlithie, where the turbines might be seen.
He will issue his decision in the new year.
13 December 2007
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