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Appeal over windfarm decision  

Credit:  By Stephen Christie, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 27 December 2010 ~~

Developers behind one of the most contentious windfarm applications to go through Aberdeenshire Council’s planning process are challenging a decision to block the project.

The bid to build three 276ft turbines on land at Auchenten, south of Peterhead, prompted more than 170 letters of objection.

Concerns were also raised that the towering masts would have endangered aircraft taking off and landing at the nearby Hatton airstrip.

Planning chiefs said the developer behind the scheme failed to show the proposal would not have had a “detrimental impact” on the private runway. Local councillors agreed and refused to grant it planning permission after discussing the project at a meeting of the local authority’s Buchan area committee in October.

Dr Gordon Masson, of Sutton Scotney, Hampshire, was behind the plan and had been working with clean energy specialist Green Cat Renewables.

Dr Masson and the Biggar-based company have now appealed to the Scottish Government to try to overturn the councillors’ ruling. A government spokeswoman said the appeal process could take up to three months and would include site visits.

At an earlier meeting of the Buchan area committee, agents for Dr Masson said he would be willing to pay for the runway to be rerouted, so that planes flew away from the turbines.

Pilot Jim Anderson, who has owned the airstrip at Hatton for more than 18 years, rejected the offer, saying he had no interest in the money.

Mr Anderson, of Ardiffery, near Hatton, said: “My main concern was for the visiting pilots who would not be familiar with the lie of the land and unaware that a windfarm development was nearby.

“If the company had proposed it for the other side of the A90 (Aberdeen to Peterhead road) I would have been quite happy.”

Another objector, David Moore, of Moss Croft, near Ellon, said the councillors’ decision spelled the end of a “very stressful year”. He added: “This application was totally inappropriate and the decision confirms that.”

Scottish Natural Heritage also entered the row about the turbines. It criticised the plans, saying thousands of migrating geese, which occupy north-east nature reserves in winter, would have been at risk had the project been given the go ahead.

Source:  By Stephen Christie, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 27 December 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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