Montrose firm East Coast Viners has been given planning permission for a wind turbine development at its animal feed mill in the Mearns.
The power generated by the three turbines will provide 90% of the electricity required by the mill at Jacksbank, Drumlithie, and councillors have backed the plan unanimously.
But there has been a warning that the cumulative effect of such wind farms could alter the character of the landscape. The proposal attracted 88 letters – 64 in support and 24 objecting.
The Kincardine and Mearns area committee was told that among the reasons for support were the reduced costs and improved viability for the firm, a long-standing employer. It would safeguard jobs, boost the local economy and keep animal feed costs down.
The turbines would be no more industrial than farming or leisure developments and most Drumlithie residents were in favour.
Objectors mentioned the cumulative impact when considered with other planned and approved wind turbine developments, shadow flicker, noise and light pollution.
They also argued that the turbines would be too near to homes, there had been inadequate consultation with residents and inaccurate visual representations.
Glenbervie and District Community Council acknowledged the benefit to the applicant but objected on the grounds of proximity to houses and the precedent that it would set.
Aberdeenshire Council’s environment planner said the 100m turbines could be seen from a significant distance.
He said, “In terms of cumulative impact, considering the current level of consented and proposed wind energy development in and around the Kincardine and Mearns and Aberdeenshire area generally, there is an increasing potential to fundamentally alter the landscape character of the region.”
The planner concluded that the application should not be supported. The council’s planning report said that East Coast Viners is a leading animal feed compounder, with the potential to increase employment from 50 to 62.
The mill’s electricity bill in the last financial year was £392,191, and the turbines would provide more stable costs.
The planners said that the potential social and economic benefits of the proposal outweighed the potentially adverse visual, landscape and cumulative impact.
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