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Debate over controversial turbine plan; Proposed development site lies near stone circle  

Credit:  By David McKay, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 15 March 2011 ~~

A contentious plan to erect a wind turbine near a historic stone circle in Aberdeenshire will be considered by councillors today.

The proposed development at Newbigging Farm, Chapel of Garioch, near Inverurie, lies just north of the Easter Aquhorthies monument.

The stone circle is thought to be one of the earliest built in Aberdeenshire, and is classed as a scheduled monument, which is a protected site of national importance.

Historic Scotland has objected to the application to build the 150ft wind turbine, which it believes would have a “significant impact” on the setting of the circle.

In a letter to Aberdeenshire Council’s planning department, Historic Scotland’s inspector of ancient monuments Martin Brann states that the monument is “characteristic of the Neolithic and early Bronze Age in Grampian”.

He states that the proposed wind turbine would be about 2,000ft from the stone circle.

“In this location, the turbine will be prominent in key views to and from the monument and we consider that it will have a significant adverse impact on the setting of the scheduled monument.”

The monument consists of 11 stones up to 8ft high with a total diameter of just under 65ft. One large 12ft stone lies horizontally, or recumbent, flanked by two of the upright stones.

Stone circles are believed to have arrived in the Aberdeenshire landscape in about 2000BC, but this particular circle also has a dry stone wall, which is thought to be a more recent addition, in either the 1700s or 1800s.

The applicant, Alan Bruce, of Newbigging Farm, was previously granted permission for a smaller turbine to the north of the property.

The British Airports Authority (BAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) were consulted by council officials, but did not object to the plan.

However, representatives of Nats, the National Air Traffic Service, initially objected before withdrawing after a detailed technical and operational assessment was conducted.

Council planners have recommended members of the area committee refuse planning permission on the basis that the turbine would “detract from the quality and character of the landscape.”

Source:  By David McKay, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 15 March 2011

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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