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Renewed plans for windfarm to be exhibited; Scaled-down development may still come under fire  

Renewed plans are being lodged for an Aberdeenshire windfarm that could produce enough natural power to meet more than 25% of the area’s annual domestic electricity demand, but may still face opposition from rural residents.

Having seen proposals for a project with 35 turbines vetoed by the Scottish Government last autumn following a public inquiry, renewable energy developer Amec is now planning a scheme of up to 22 turbines at Clashindarroch Forest, near Huntly.

Four years ago the firm had initially applied for a much larger 47-turbine windfarm.

While the inquiry reporter ruled last September that the reduced project was not appropriate, it was noted that the general principle of a large windfarm in the rural forest setting was acceptable. Amec said it has now redesigned and further cut its plans in light of the findings, but protest group the Friends of Clash has voiced continuing concerns.

Revised proposals will now be flagged up by Amec over coming weeks through a series of public exhibitions in the Huntly area, presentations to community bodies and the issue of a leaflet outlining the new scheme.

“We want to make sure our plans for Clashindarroch bring real benefits to the local community and are in sympathy with the local landscape,” said Amec development director, Robert East.

The 4-8pm open sessions will be staged at Cabrach Primary School on June 23; Huntly’s Stewart’s Hall on June 24; and the Gordon Arms Hotel, Rhynie, on June 25.

The Clashindarroch windfarm now planned would see each 340ft turbine generate 2MW, making a major contribution to the national grid in an area where average domestic electricity consumption totals around 4,700 kWh annually. With the prospect of local contractors gaining new business through the project, the windfarm spin-off could also include the setting up of a community fund and potential community investment in the development which would have a lifespan of 25 years.

Friends of Clash secretary Richard Hammock of Culdrain, Gartly, said: “Essentially it is the same proposal with some scaling down of the wings of the original development site.

“The underlying issues remain unresolved,” added Mr Hammock.

By Alistair Beaton

The Press and Journal

10 June 2008

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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