Developers seeking to build a windfarm on a scenic Aberdeenshire hilltop, reputedly one of Queen Victoria’s favourite landscapes, have lost an appeal.
The Scottish Government’s principal reporter has thrown out a challenge to the refusal of permission for a controversial seven-turbine project at Pressendye.
Last night, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Liberal Democrat MP Mike Rumbles welcomed the reporter’s decision and warned that windfarm developers had to listen to local communities.
Mr Rumbles said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. It’s tremendous news.
“This decision sends out a clear message to developers that they have to listen to locally elected members and local communities.”
Cushnie Wind Energy’s bid for the windfarm scheme near Cushnie, Alford, was unanimously rejected after mass public opposition.
Nearly 600 letters were received by Aberdeenshire Council opposing the development, three miles from the border with Cairngorms National Park.
The council’s Marr area committee turned down the plans last year.
At the meeting, objectors spoke of the “harmful impact” the 410ft turbines would have on the beauty spot, which is popular with residents and visitors.
The company claimed the windfarm would produce enough energy to provide power for 5,500 homes and reduce carbon emissions by more than 25,000 tonnes per year.
It appealed against the decision, and a public inquiry before principal reporter Timothy Brian was held in August this year.
Mr Brian has now rejected the appeal, ruling that the determining issues were the landscape and visual impact of the proposal and its impact on the Cairngorms National Park.
He said in his findings: “I conclude that the windfarm would be a dominant feature in views from a number of local vantage points, diminishing the apparent height of the Pressendye ridge, and would dominate views from nearby houses, hamlets and the village of Tarland.
“It would also spoil the attractive backdrop to the village.
“Overall, I conclude that the proposed windfarm would have an unacceptable landscape and visual impact, and that the proposal runs counter to relevant development plan and national planning policies.
“I can find no material considerations which would justify a different conclusion.”
The Stop Turbines on Pressendye action group also welcomed the decision to throw out the appeal. Spokesman Simon Welfare, of Easter Davoch, Tarland, said last night: “A large proportion of the public who sent in objections were angry about the serious impact this industrial development would have had on wildlife, on the environment and on the lives of a large number of locals and visitors to the area.
“However, we know there are many more communities around Scotland, and some not a million miles from this hill, who face the same test of resolution to stand up for the landscape they love.”
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