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Wind turbines ‘gold rush’ sparks guidelines demand

Mearns Community Council has warned it will not support any more wind turbine plans until guidelines are issued.

Secretary Marjorie Stewart said clear guidelines must be issued regarding location, environmental impact, neighbour proximity and cumulative impact.

She was responding to Aberdeenshire Council on behalf of the group in response to multiple planning applications near Laurencekirk.

A wind turbine “gold rush” is continuing to gather pace and the applications are among more than 800 at various stages of planning in Aberdeenshire.

Campaigners believe the flurry of applications will continue because turbines are permitted 400m from the nearest residence in Aberdeenshire – yet in Fife it is 2km.

Ms Stewart stated: “These single and one double turbine applications, whilst individually represent little impact on the surrounding area, have significant cumulative impact on the larger landscape.

“The Howe of the Mearns is a large arable landscape, characterised by a flat level plain bordered by the east Grampian hills and the Gravock Hill.

“The Garvock an established Hill has

seven turbine (100 metres) windfarm dominating the landscape from all directions.

“Whilst recognising that each application is considered individually for its localised impact, Mearns Community Council strongly recommends that the cumulative randomised distribution of 50 metre and over wind turbines should not be allowed to impact on the landscape.

“Careful consideration therefore is required from an environmental aspect on proliferation of individual turbines.

“Until clear guidelines are issued regarding location, environmental impact, neighbour proximity and cumulative impact, Mearns Community Council is unable to support these and any further applications within its area of responsibility.”

The response was sent for the two proposed turbines at Thornton and individual structures at Brigton, Gossesslie, Caldame, Waterlair, Upper Powburn and Scotston.

In Kincardine and the Mearns 79 turbines have been approved and 35 are currently pending.

Pressure group Concerned About Wind Turbines (CAWT) is cataloguing all developments and set up a website to track the various proposed projects and give advice on responding to applications.

CAWT produced a map it says shows the wind turbines in place or proposed in Aberdeenshire. Now it is calling on councils to do the same so residents can see where and how many are in their area.

Visitor traffic to the CAWT website is steadily increasing.

In November, the site had 5,000 visitors. That is the highest number of visits since the site was launched in December 2009 and double the average number of visitors from six months ago.