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Public inquiry over windfarm begins

A public inquiry examining controversial plans to build a windfarm on Donside has started.

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Marr area committee unanimously threw out plans for a seven-turbine scheme near Cushnie, Alford, last year after they attracted hundreds of objections from the public.

The plans were put forward by Cushnie Wind Energy in 2008, which says the windfarm would produce enough energy to provide power for 5,500 homes and reduce carbon emissions by more than 25,000 tonnes a year.

Scottish Government reporter Timothy Brian will weigh up the evidence presented to him about the “landscape and visual impact” the scheme will have before reporting his findings to ministers, who will then decide whether or not to approve the windfarm.

The inquiry is expected to run into next week.

Nearly 600 letters were received by Aberdeenshire Council from objectors, who were concerned that the 410ft turbines on Pressendye Hill would harm local wildlife.

They also voiced fears that the scheme would affect the view of the scenic countryside spot, which lies three miles from the border with Cairngorms National Park.

Only 28 people wrote in support of the plans.

The national park authority noted an objection to the scheme, and two protest groups – Stop Turbines on Pressendye (SToP) and Cushnie Wind Action Group – were also formed.

The inquiry will continue at MacRobert Memorial Hall, Tarland, today.