Campaigners battling to halt the march of wind turbines took their fight to Aberdeenshire Council’s doorstep yesterday.
Protesters staged a noisy demonstration at its Woodhill House HQ in Aberdeen as elected members arrived to take part in a seminar on the surge in planning bids for green energy schemes across the north-east.
They aim to put pressure on councillors to reject proposals for more windfarms. They also said the seminar should have been open to the public, and claimed those taking part would not be given all the facts.
Patrick Heron, from Aboyne, fought plans for a windfarm development in Royal Deeside. He said: “Aberdeenshire appears to have no cohesive planning policy on turbines and that’s why they are appearing all across the region, polluting our countryside.
“It’s nonsense to claim the people behind these things are putting them up because they are concerned about the environment.
“These turbines are a licence to print money.
“Peoplecometo Scotland for the scenery and if that scenery is being blighted by these turbines, then they will stay away.”
Yesterday’s demonstration was organised after members of the council’s Buchan committee were criticised for approving a series of masts near Peterhead, despite warnings by the Ministry of Defence.
Military chiefs are trying to block nearly 30 schemes planned for the north-east as they believe a proliferation could cause interference to a local radar base.
The demonstration was supported – but not organised – by the Aberdeenshire-based Concerned About Wind Turbines group. Spokesman Nick Orpwood said the protest was arranged because it was felt the training seminar would not give councillors the full picture.
“There was nobody to put forward the negative points regarding wind energy,” he said. “Nor to raise concerns regarding the entire planning process in Aberdeenshire.”
A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said last night: “The seminar was arranged to provide members with an overview of some of the challenges for the council as a result of wind turbine applications.
“The planning process and related policies were examined with a view to identifying whether changes to current practices need to be made.
“Members were appraised of the current planning considerations and how they are applied.
“As with other information seminars for councillors, this is not a decision-making event, although views gathered could help shape any future changes to wind turbine guidance and the planning process.”
Councillors said recently they were “caught between a rock and a hard place” when it came to deciding on windfarms, because they had to grant permission if the turbines met policy requirements, even if they felt there were already too many in an area.
It also emerged earlier this year that Aberdeenshire Council received five times as many wind turbine applications in 2011 as the biggest local authority area in Scotland.
Developers asked for permission to build more than 450 turbine schemes from January to October.
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