September 1, 2010

Plan for taller turbines backed by councillors

By Gary Cruden, The Press and Journal, 1 September 2010

Plans to increase the height of three wind turbines which will be built near a north-east town have been approved by councillors.

Aberdeenshire Council planners had recommended the application for refusal but councillors on the Kincardine and Mearns area committee voted in favour of letting the development go ahead.

Brechin-based Auquhirie Land Co already had permission for three 250ft turbines at Hillhead of Auquhirie, near Stonehaven, but the company wanted to increase their height to 300ft, claiming it will lead to a three-fold increase in the power they produce.

Planners warned councillors that, due to the height and scale of the proposed turbines, the development would have a negative impact on the area.

The turbines will be able to produce enough electricity to power nearly 4,000 homes.

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillors Peter Bellarby and Wendy Agnew proposed that the plans be thrown out, while fellow area councillor Mike Sullivan, backed by North Kincardine councillor Alastair Bews, said the application should be given the go-ahead.

Mr Bellarby said: “Renewable energy is very important for all of us, we can’t do without it, but we should not approve them (turbines) willy-nilly.”

Mrs Agnew said the development was “too large” for the site.

Mr Sullivan said that for a 22% increase in height, the windfarm would see a 77% increase in power produced.

He said: “I sometimes wonder if my colleagues are living in the real world. We have to meet targets.

“To achieve these targets we need to reduce emissions by 3% every year for the foreseeable future.”

He said the previous application at the site had been passed unanimously.

“It’s of critical importance to generate from renewable sources,” Mr Sullivan added.

The application was given the go-ahead by eight votes to three.

Seven letters were received by the council raising concerns about the proposed change. They said there were concerns about shadow flicker, claimed it “will spoil Stonehaven’s natural beauty”, and said the turbines will be too close to homes.

Catterline, Kinneff and Dunnottar Community Council and Mearns Community Council also objected to the plans.

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