November 16, 2010

Turriff turbines too tall – planners

By Stephen Christie, The Press and Journal, 16 November 2010

Plans for “overbearing and dominating” wind turbines earmarked for land near Turriff will be brought back under the spotlight today.

Planners maintain that the three 328ft structures proposed for Shielburn Farm, Newton of Fortrie, four miles south-west of the town, would have an “adverse impact” on the surrounding area.

In a report to go before members of the Formartine area committee today, officials recommend councillors refuse planning permission for the scheme.

The project has divided the local community. Aberdeenshire Council has received six letters in support and six from objectors.

A 21-name petition backing the proposal has also been submitted to the council.

Concerns raised include increased noise as a result of the turbines, their proximity to neighbouring houses and lack of financial benefit to the area.

However, the scheme’s supporters say the turbines, which would be capable of supplying power to 3,900 homes, would reduce the region’s carbon footprint and benefit the environment.

In the planners’ report, official Victoria Moore states: “The authority needs to ensure that a positive and valued landscape character is not eroded, degraded or lost by inappropriately-sized wind turbines.

“The size of the wind turbines proposed for the application site is too tall for the landscape character and identified sensitivity of the area.

“They are likely to have an adverse visual impact on the general perception of the area’s landscape at a local level and beyond.

“For reasons of their scale the turbines are likely to detract from the visual quality and character of the designated landscape and therefore refusal of this application is recommended.”

The official adds that they could have an “overbearing and dominating impact on the landscape in the immediate vicinity”.

A final decision on the Shielburn Farm proposal was deferred at a meeting on October 26 to allow councillors to see the site for themselves. The visit took place on November 2.

The Formartine committee is expected to rule on the application when councillors meet at Ellon this morning.

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