An Aberdeenshire councillor has called for a “fundamental rethink” on the siting of windfarms in the area.
Mearns councillor George Carr said the public are increasingly unhappy at the lack of “meaningful input” into whether an area is suitable for a windfarm, and that this should be addressed in the emerging Local Development Plan.
He also branded the Scottish Government’s windfarm policies “far too vague and far too subjective” in certain areas including landscape significance.
He said: “The siting of windfarms is however very separate from whether we support the concept of windfarms or not.
“As a councillor, I feel increasingly redundant in having any say over the siting of windfarms. The Scottish Government has imposed ambitious targets for renewable energy generation and in my opinion has a responsibility to spell out to councils how much energy generation Aberdeenshire should be contributing to the electricity grid. A positive recommendation from council planners is a very powerful endorsement, and many of the landscape considerations are far too subjective.
“If we were looking at an application for housing we would have a designated geographic area in our Local Development Plan which has already been consulted on with the public for their input and views, and we would know exactly where we stand. No such consultation has taken place on windfarms and we are working in the dark. I have suggested a similar concept for wind farms.”
He added: “Assessments of valued views have also been done but in my opinion that can be a double edged sword because if a valued view is not detailed in the Local Development Plan and a Scottish Government reporter is assessing the merit of any wind farm site in a planning appeal, then it would likely carry more weight in favour of granting planning permission. Aberdeenshire is covered by valued views and how do we collate and detail them all? It’s impossible but yet again is subjective.”
The Kincardine and Mearns area committee has requested that further guidance is urgently sought from the Scottish Government on what level of wind power generation Aberdeenshire Council should be expected to provide.
The authority’s infrastructure services committee will debate the issue in due course before any decision on future policy is taken.