January 13, 2011

Windfarm could improve Auchenten airstrip safety, say developers

By Stephen Christie, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 13 January 2011

Developers fighting a decision to block plans to build a windfarm near a north-east airstrip claim their proposal could improve safety at the runway.

Dr Gordon Masson, of Sutton Scotney, Hampshire, was working with clean energy specialist Green Cat Renewables on the plan for Auchenten, near Hatton, Aberdeenshire, before it was stopped in its tracks last year.

The bid to build the three 276ft turbines prompted more than 170 letters of objection, including one from the owner of a private airstrip near the village.

Planning chiefs said not enough had been done to show the proposal would not have had a “detrimental impact” on the airfield, owned by local pilot Jim Anderson.

Councillors agreed and refused to grant planning permission after discussing the scheme at a meeting of the local authority’s Buchan area committee in October.

Dr Masson and Green Cat Renewables have since appealed to the Scottish Government to try to overturn the councillors’ ruling.

In a letter submitted with their appeal application, a spokesman suggests flashing lights could be attached to the turbines to warn pilots of their position. He says: “It is acknowledged by Mr Anderson, in a letter, that ‘on a clear day, wind turbines are easily seen and avoided in the cruise’, which suggests that the wind turbines only represent a potential obstruction hazard during poor visibility.

“As suggested by Mr Anderson, in the same letter, ‘the turbines could be made more conspicuous during periods of poor visibility if white strobe flashing lights were fitted’. We propose to instal adequate standard aviation obstruction lighting which could be conditioned into any consent.”

The spokesman adds: “The lighting would provide a visual reference to locate the airstrip in approach during poor visibility weather.

“The turbines could therefore improve the airstrip safety if used in bad weather condition.”

The developer’s letter also states that the project would have a “positive impact” on the north-east economy.

“The additional income generated would encourage business growth, which would create additional job opportunities,” the spokesman adds.

“Income generated by the proposed development can be expected to be recycled within the locality through the use of local service providers and contractors.”

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.

Mr Anderson, of Ardiffery, rejected the offer, saying he had no interest in the money.

A government spokeswoman said the appeal process could take up to three months and would include site visits.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/01/13/windfarm-could-improve-auchenten-airstrip-safety-say-developers/