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Hundreds join campaign to oppose wind turbines

Hundreds of people have backed a group set up to record opposition to windfarms.

Interest in campaign organisation Concerned About Wind Turbines (CAWT) has been growing since if formed last December, founder Nick Orpwood said today.

“People keep contacting us. We’re getting about 500 visits a month to the website,” he said.

“As more and more people find out about us and are affected themselves, they come and ask for advice.

“They come mostly from Aberdeenshire but also from all over the UK.”

Mr Orpwood set up the group after a planning bid for wind turbines at Cairncake in Cuminestown, near Turriff, was submitted to Aberdeenshire Council.

“As we gathered information we realised it was a much bigger problem than just Cairncake or Cuminestown,” Mr Orpwood said.

Pressure from the group is having an impact on Aberdeenshire Council planning decisions but he believes more needs to be done.

“We’re just asking for the guidelines to be a little bit firmer and we would be happy,” he said.

Mr Orpwood expects the next controversy to centre on a turbine set to be built 1km from an Aberdeenshire primary school.

A decision is pending on whether Neil Duffus will be allowed to build a turbine at Neils Brae in Fintray, close to Hatton of Fintray School.

The chairman of Formartine area committee John Loveday said he felt wind turbines were going up “willy-nilly” around Aberdeenshire.

He said: “We are suffering more than anywhere else in the country.

“I have no criticisms of the things themselves, it’s the fact they are popping up all over the place, particularly in Formartine, and there is no control.”

But Cllr Loveday said councillors were powerless to stop turbines.

“We cannot just refuse them because there are no adequate reasons in the policies.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s acting director of corporate services Christine Gore said: “There is a bit of tension between the planning and the energy issues,” Dr Gore said.

“The manufacturers are saying the bigger the turbine the more efficient it is.

“The planning issue that goes with that is the bigger the turbine the more intrusive it is.”

The planning service is currently looking at changing the rules, Dr Gore said, but she claimed the council needed more help from the Government.

“It is a huge issue – we’re running the risk of either approving too many or not approving enough,” she said.