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Residents set up website to track wind farm ‘gold rush’

A group of Aberdeenshire residents concerned about the proliferation of wind farm proposals have set up a website to track the various proposed projects.

They are concerned that the area will be swamped by turbines, saying more than 750 are at various stages of planning in Aberdeenshire.

Concerned About Wind Turbines (CAWT) is cataloguing all developments and aims to “highlight inaccuracies and false or dubious claims made by wind energy developers.”

They have compiled a map showing 350 commercial wind turbines 50m or higher and more than 400 domestic and agricultural turbines less than 50m at various stages of planning.

The group said, “Despite the noise predictions of developers (many of whom do not appear to hold any recognised acoustic engineering qualifications or industry affiliations) it is apparent that several existing wind farms in Aberdeenshire are causing noise problems.

“Noise complaints from residents near to some wind farms in Aberdeenshire have been ongoing for months, with no sign of resolution. For example, in April 2011 published letters of objection regarding the Cairnmore extension near Rhynie indicate that noise from the existing three Cairnmore turbines is causing distress to some residents. There are similar examples elsewhere in Aberdeenshire.

“In approving some of these plans, we question whether Aberdeenshire Council has the resources and expertise necessary to adequately assess the suitability of wind energy developments in the region – particularly those close to existing homes.

“In light of the reported noise issues, we also question whether Aberdeenshire Council has the necessary authority to hold developers to account when problems are reported.”
‘Gold rush’

The group allege that what they call the current “gold rush” to erect turbines “has little to do with environmental benefits and much to do with financial gain” for landowners.

Wind farms were also the subject of discussion at Mearns Community Council. Member Chris Rushbridge said the public were becoming increasingly unhappy at their lack of any meaningful input on the subject of wind farms.

“There are in excess of 700 wind turbines in the pipeline for Aberdeenshire at the moment,” he said. “In Aberdeenshire turbines are permitted 400m from the nearest residence, yet in Fife it is 2km. Why the difference?”

Chairman David Nelson said wind farms were a “cash cow” at the moment with all the government subsidies on them. He said there are millions of pounds at stake.

“These things pay for themselves in 10 years and after that it is pure profit. The turbines that are being proposed are huge – 115m to the blade tip.”

► The company behind the Tullo wind farm is seeking a further seven turbines – four to the north of the existing turbines and three on the Laurencekirk side of Garvock Hill.