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Wind turbine near landmark wins approval; Councillors support plans for site close to stone circle  

Credit:  By David McKay, The Press and Journal , www.pressandjournal.co.uk 20 April 2011 ~~

A plan to erect a wind turbine near an ancient stone circle in Aberdeenshire was backed by councillors yesterday.

Members of the Garioch area committee approved the plans after a site visit to Newbigging Farm, Chapel of Garioch, near Inverurie.

An objection had been raised from Historic Scotland that the 150ft tower would have an adverse visual impact on the setting of the Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, about 2,000ft away.

The landmark, believed to be one of the earliest in Aberdeenshire, is classed as a scheduled monument and protected as a site of national importance.

A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said the body would be notifying Scottish ministers of the decision.

The application will go to the directorate of the built environment, who will decide if it can be cleared back to the council or called in by ministers.

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

During a discussion at the meeting at Gordon House, Inverurie councillor Mike Raeburn voiced concern about the effect of “shadow flicker” from wind turbines.

He said he was “not too concerned” about the visual impact on the stone circle, however.

East Garioch councillor Martin Ford said that he thought it unlikely that shadow flicker would be an issue on this particular site. Committee chairman councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes, who had requested the site visit, moved to approve the plan.

He said: “Having visited the site, I do not consider that this will have a detrimental impact on an area of landscape significance.”

Applicant Alan Bruce, of Newbigging Farm, Chapel of Garioch, attended the meeting but said he did not wish to comment at this stage.

He did, however, point out that six letters of support had been submitted by his neighbours.

Council planner Paul Duthie said in a report that letters of support had been received, but were not considered valid as they had been submitted outside the date for public comment.

Shadow flicker is the effect caused when rotating wind turbine blades periodically cast shadows through openings such as the windows of neighbouring properties.

Source:  By David McKay, The Press and Journal , www.pressandjournal.co.uk 20 April 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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