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Wind turbine ‘zones’ rejected

A motion calling on East Lothian Council to produce a masterplan for wind turbine zones in East Lothian was thrown out by its members this week.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, Labour Councillor for Dunbar and East Linton, urged the council to regard all individual wind turbine planning applications in the lower Lammermuirs as “premature” until a review of Local Plan policies.

He called for a masterplan to be produced identifying parts of the area where this type of development could be “successfully integrated” into the landscape.

Councillor Ludovic Broun-Lindsay, Conservative, of Colstoun estate near Haddington, had earlier declared an interest at the meeting on Tuesday, saying in a personal capacity he was in negotiation with a wind company.

Councillor Hampshire said the motion was not against development of wind energy in the county, but highlighted the “numerous” e-mails and letters from local people concerned about applications for single wind turbines.

But Keith MacConnachie, Head of Law and Licensing, stressed that the council must process and determine a planning application within set periods of time. He said for the local authority to receive an application and not to process it would not be within its legal power.

Provost Sheena Richardson, Lib Dem, concluded: “We would be acting unlawfully and we haven’t any grounds for judging this premature.”

Council Leader Paul McLennan, SNP, said Mr Collins had been asked to prepare planning guidance for wind turbines and this had been received in the last few days which would be discussed fully by the SNP/Lib Dem administration, before being shared with opposition councillors and community groups. Discussion would take place at the council meeting on December 7.

Councillor Barry Turner, Lib Dem, planning committee convener, said all applications for wind turbines would would be considered on their merits.

Philip Revell of Sustaining Dunbar told the News: “There are many landowners at various stages of preparing planning applications for individual turbines and there is a danger of East Lothian becoming swamped with turbines purely for private profit.”