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27 new turbines proposed across Formartine

Applications for 27 new wind turbines in Formartine are currently going through the planning process, prompting fears about ‘saturation’ of the countryside from campaigners against the devices.

Applications have been lodged, since before the last meeting of Formartine Area Committee, for at least 27 turbines across 21 sites within the Ellon Times coverage area. These do not include a half-dozen similar developments in Turriff, Rothienorman and Huntly.

The proposed devices, which range in height from 92.5 to less than 20m, will join the ever increasing number of wind turbines which are rapidly coming to dominate Aberdeenshire’s – and, particularly Formartine’s – skyline.

Concerns have previously been raised among councillors on FAC about the cumulative impact of turbine development in the area, with Chairman John Loveday observing last month that he could see more than a dozen from his own home.

Advocates in favour of wind turbines argue that the strategic need for renewable, domestically produced energy renders developments desirable. They also argue that the turbines are an excellent mechanism for bringing both development and revenue to local communities. The Udny Community Turbine for example – one of the few comprehensively community-owned wind turbines in the country – is expected to generate hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for Udny and Pitmedden residents over its lifetime. Other schemes have benefited communities with a percentage of the profits used to fund local facilities, as at Skelmonae Windfarm which contributes money each year to the council and local groups as part of planning gain associated with the project,

Udny Community Council Chairman Brian McDougall, who helped erect the Udny Community Turbine told the Times that he had mixed opinions regarding windfarm developments in Formartine.

“Personally, I think we’re reaching saturation point, with more coming forward all the time,” he said. “The ones at Udny, for example, aren’t too bad at this stage, but with another two going up and more proposed, it’s clear to see that there will be a problem.

“The council needs to work out a better definition of what ‘cumulative impact’ actually means. The definition as it stands is far too vague, and clarity would not only benefit the countryside, but developers as well.”

“I can see why anyone would want one though – they’re enormously profitable.”

Developments currently under consideration include: Oldmeldrum: Greenford, Cairnbrogie, Balcairn, Balgove, Cromlet Farm; Newmachar: West Ardo

Methlick: Scotston, Cairnorrie, North Skelmonae, Little Ardo, Gight; Tarves: Douglashead; Udny: Mill of Fiddes, Tillyeve; Ellon: Arnage, Braiklay Croft, Auchreddie, Mossneuk, East Ardarg, Neuk of Cookston, Inverebrie.