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Wind turbine plan may impact on stone circle  

Credit:  By David McKay, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 16 April 2011 ~~

A decision on a plan to erect a wind turbine near a historic stone circle in Aberdeenshire will be made on Tuesday.

Councillors deferred the application at a meeting last month to allow for a site visit to Newbigging Farm, Chapel of Garioch, near Inverurie.

The Easter Aquhorthies monument, which lies just south of the proposed site, is thought to be one of the earliest stone circles built in Aberdeenshire.

Historic Scotland objected to the application for the 150ft turbine, claiming it would have a “significant impact” on the setting of the circle, about 2,000ft away.

The landmark is classed as a scheduled monument and protected as a site of national importance.

In a letter to the council, Martin Brann, inspector of ancient monuments at Historic Scotland, said the circle was “characteristic of the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Grampian”.

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

The Easter Aquhorthies structure 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 have been added in either the 1700s or 1800s.

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

Planners have recommended that members of the Garioch area committee reject the application on the basis that the turbine would “detract from the quality and character of the landscape”.

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

The area committee meets at Gordon House, Inverurie, on Tuesday.

Source:  By David McKay, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 16 April 2011

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