Four wind turbines earmarked for the northeast could threaten the lives of scores of winged visitors to the region, it has been claimed.
Up to a fifth of the world’s population of pink-footed geese visit or roost each winter at Loch of Strathbeg, between Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
Concerns have been raised that a proposed windfarm at Crimond, near the nature reserve, could have dire consequences for the birds.
St Fergus-based Greenside Wind Energy hopes to instal the 330ft structures on farmland at Overside and Green-wellheads. It was initially estimated 134 geese could be killed every year as a result of colliding with the turbine blades.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) claimed the development would have “serious adverse impacts” on the geese population.
In a report on the scheme, due before Buchan councillors next week, a planning spokesman said: “SNH has recommended mitigation conditions and agreements to reduce the overall effects on goose mortality.
“These include habitat management proposals to discourage feeding close by the turbines and post-construction monitoring work to establish actual collision mortality levels.
“SNH strongly recommends that, should the project be granted permission, the programme of post-construction monitoring be carried out to quantify the impacts.”
The wind farm proposal has also attracted a high level of public interest and has split the community.
A total of 27 letters of support have been sent to Aberdeenshire Council with 24 submitted against the project. Supporters believe the turbines development will support the local economy, produce safe, clean electricity and blend in with the landscape.
Protesters, meanwhile, claim there are too many turbines in the area and fear the Crimond proposal will be dominant and overbearing.
The report recommends planning permission is refused on the grounds the proposed turbines would have a “detrimental impact” on the landscape and “detrimentally change” the character of the area.
Buchan councillors will also consider proposals for two 90ft wind turbines planned for Maud when they meet on Tuesday.
Officials have called for that scheme to be scrapped amid concerns it would interfere with Aberdeen Airport.