Plans for two huge wind turbines in the north-east have been given the go-ahead despite planners’ fears that the land earmarked for the masts is becoming too crowded with similar projects.
Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure and services committee voted in favour of the development near New Pitsligo tabled by potato farmer Alan Twatt.
It follows concerns raised by officials at the local authority who claimed the 320ft turbines could “detrimentally change” the landscape due to the high number of already approved or built structures nearby. Councillors had been urged to reject the plan.
In a report, planner Chris Ormiston said there were currently seven other wind turbine projects within 10 miles of Mr Twatt’s proposed site at Greenhill Croft, Bonnykelly.
Mr Ormiston stressed the importance of considering new wind turbine applications alongside neighbouring projects.
He said: “The cumulative impact of the proposed development, as viewed along with other consented turbines in the area, would detrimentally change the character of the agricultural heartland area, resulting in visual conflict and a loss of visual amenity and landscape character.”
The planner also warned the wind turbines could appear “dominant” and “overbearing” on the countryside.
“The development will result in significant visual impacts on the site area, the southern area of Banff and Buchan, the western area of Buchan and northern area of Formartine,” he added.
“The size and structure proposed will be perceived as large, overly-dominant and overbearing.”
Other projects located near the Bonnykelly site include approved turbines at Little Byth, Bogenlea, Newstead Gairenston and Old Maud and built masts at Cairnhill, Balquhindachy and Skelmonae. At the meeting, central Buchan councillor Albert Howie said it would be a “great disservice to the north-east” to refuse Mr Twatt’s plan as the project would provide jobs and produce green energy.
North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison added: “I cannot find anything here that would support a decision for refusal.”
Peterhead councillor Stuart Pratt pointed out that countries such as the Netherlands had designated windfarm areas and raised concerns about the way turbines were being scattered around Aberdeenshire.
“I don’t like the fact they are dotted all over the place, I do not agree with it,” he added.
In the end, councillors voted nine to three in favour of the application.
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