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Seventy turbines for Mearns

A total of 70 wind turbines are in the pipeline for the Mearns. Chairman David Nelson told last week’s meeting of Mearns Community Council that this was the total number of turbines with planning permission, for which planning permission is being sought or at the scoping stage.

The community council are to make no objection to an application for a further nine turbines at Mid Hill, where the developers already have planning permission for 25.

Glenbervie representative John Stevenson said this means that the Mid Hill development will now go to the Scottish Government of determination.

“This development is one of the few that is sensitively sited. This (the nine turbines) is not contentious and I do not expect Glenbervie Community Association to object.

“The number of wind turbines proposed for this area would astound you. There are almost too many to count.”

Alan Mowat commented: “Any farmer that wants a turbine in the next four or five years is going to get one. We have to ask what the definition is of business use.”

Members wanted to know why Aberdeenshire allows turbines 400m from the nearest residential property, while other authorities insist on 1km.

Mr Stevenson said that this distance was calculated when the turbines being erected were one-sixth of the size being put up now.

Over the summer period, the community council lodged objections to turbines at Thornton and at Brigton.

Mr Nelson said they had taken this decision on landscape issues as these proposed turbines would be right in the middle of the Howe, on flat land and would have an impact on an unspoilt landscape.

Trevor Hodgson asked therefore why no objection had been put in to the proposed turbine at Fordoun sawmill, which was also on flat land and part of an unspoilt landscape.

Aberdeenshire councillor Tom Fleming said that those who were anti-windfarm might soon have a white knight in the shape of air traffic control.

Councillor Fleming said that air traffic controllers at Aberdeen are not allowed to assume that objects they see on their screens are wind turbines and must divert planes five miles away from them. If wind turbines are put up at the rate projected, very soon there would be nowhere for planes to go.

Mr Mowat said he was not anti-windfarm as much as anti the lack of planning policy on the subject.

“Other councils have a more structured policy. Here we are windfarm city!”

Friends of Garvock spokesman David Johnston said the Scottish Government’s obsession with wind power must be challenged saying that wind power was neither cheap or environmentally friendly.

“These turbines dominate the landscape and destroy the rural environment. We could have 20 turbines on the ridgeline of the Garvock. It is time to say enough is enough.

“The countryside is part of our local and national identity. We are proud of it and want to protect it.”

Councillor George Carr admitted that Aberdeenshire Council has no meaningful policy on windfarms and there was no policy laid down in the forthcoming local plan.

“The next review of the local plan will be in five years. In the meantime people are becoming more and more vocal on this subject.

“We do not have the power that we should have to address this. We must move this forward by taking the matter to Piers Blaxter (local plan policy maker) and ask him to address this policy vaccum.

Marie Richards said some people mistakenly think that wind turbines will mean they will get cheap electricity.

Mr Stevenson said it probably didn’t matter what the community council said.

He added that when a turbine application for the Glenbervie area went to council, the Glenbervie Community Association and the community council both objected, yet the area committee voted 11-0 in favour of the application.

As reported last week, the community council deferred making any decision on windfarms until all the applications for the Garvock Hill are in and can be considered together.

The council is to invite Piers Blaxter to a meeting to discuss windfarm policy (or lack of it) in Aberdeenshire.