A windfarm application at a north-east beauty spot, which has prompted the formation of two campaign groups, will be formally submitted on Monday.
Local people have already raised concerns about the proposal for seven wind turbines and a substation in Cushnie which will be visible to residents in both Tarland and Alford.
The long-awaited application has been drawn up by Cushnie Wind Energy, a joint venture between energy firms Falck Renewables and RDC Scotland.
The manufacturers claim the 410ft turbines would have the potential to provide power enough for 7,500 homes and displace more than 35,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
Worried about the impact the turbines could have on the surrounding landscape, residents formed two campaign groups to voice their objections.
Tarland-based Stop On Pressendye (Stop) and neighbouring Cushnie Wind Action Group (CWAG) recently joined forces to create a website which they hope will encourage even more people to join their campaign.
CWAG chairman Ray King said: “We have a lot of concerns. It’s not just about the visual impact, it’s about a lot more than that. Windfarms have got their place but not in that location.”
The groups will be studying the proposal next week to find out what will be done to reduce the potential impact on nearby water supplies and lower the aerodynamic noise produced.
Local residents had an opportunity to view the proposal at two public exhibitions in August last year.
Fraser Mackenzie, project manager for agents Atmos Consulting, said: “Concerns raised at the exhibitions related to the impact on house prices, noise and recreation as well as the visual impact.
“We have aimed to address these issues in the environmental statement which accompanies the planning application.
“We believe this is a good location for a windfarm as the area has excellent wind speed, straightforward connections to the national grid and is designated in the local authority strategy as suitable for this type of smaller-scale windfarm.”
Meanwhile, Scottish ministers have backed plans to increase the capacity of Mid Hill windfarm, near Cairn o’ Mount, Banchory.
The 25MW boost will mean the 25-turbine site could produce up to 75MW of electricity, enough to meet the electricity demand of 13,000 homes, operators said.
Permission was also granted to extend the height of the five smallest turbines by 32ft, bringing them to a total of 360ft each.
Energy Minister Jim Mather said: “Granting consent for this increase in capacity at Mid Hill is another step towards fulfilling Scotland’s green-energy potential.”
Developer Fred Olson Renewables is also considering plans to build up to 15 more wind turbines at the site.
26 January 2008
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