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Planners say turbines plan should be blocked  

Credit:  Graham Crawford, Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, April 3, 2012 ~~

Planners are opposing a bid for two giant wind turbines at Backhill of Yonderton, Craigston, Turriff, because they are so many structures already built or approved in the area.

They also state the turbines “would detrimentally change the character of this agricultural heartland”.

Planning officer Katherine Donnachie told Banff and Buchan area committee last week that there were already in excess of 40 such turbines within a five-kilometre radius of the proposed site.

She said when a turbine was approved in 2007 at nearby Gairnieston is was felt that the landscape could absorb one such structure.

“However, we have to look at the build-up of development in the area and the amount of large-scale turbines which can be seen from 30 kilometres away” she added.

“Although we appreciate that there is the lack of public opposition, we are concerned that a group of three, including the one at Gairnieston, would change the attractive character of this landscape and it would be dominated by turbines. We feel matters have reached saturation and a tipping point in this area”.

Wilson Strachan of nearby Bridge End Sand and Gravel, Mill of Balmaud, wants to put up two 99.5m turbines.

Planners are recommending refusal, stating that the development would have a detrimental impact on the established character of “this agricultural heartland and would not respect the character and amenity of the surrounding area as required by policy”.

They also say that the development, due to its scale, size and siting would have an “unacceptably overhearing visual impact upon residences in the vicinity”, and that “the cumulative impact of the proposed development, as viewed along with other consented turbines in the immediate and wider area would detrimentally change the character of this agricultural heartland area, resulting in an overall loss of visual amenity and changing the landscape character to an unacceptable degree”.

Mr Strachan said the turbines would help secure the long-term future of his businesses and the jobs involved.

Councillor Michael Watt said: “If we are going to adopt green energy, we are going to have 50 times the number of turbines”.

Committee chairman Sydney Mair said: “Landscape is one area in which Government has been giving no direction. We are the ones that make the decisions and take the flak.

“It is very difficult to go against an application on landscape only”.

Ms Donnachie said: “Scottish National Heritage points out the sensitivity of agricultural heartland landscapes to accommodate large-scale turbines”.

Councillor Ian Gray said: “A lot of emphasis has been put on the size of turbines, but it is a choice we have to make”.

Councillor Jack Mair said: “We don’t need guidance from the Government. We should be deciding the sites instead of covering the whole countryside.

“We as councillors should be showing the way, and we’re failing”.

The committee agreed it should follow its usual procedure regarding large turbines and carry out a site visit.

The councillors will visit Backhill of Yonderton today (Tuesday) and convene in Banff immediately afterwards to make a decision.

It was also agreed to hold a site visit concerning an application by Alan Twatt (Potatoes) Ltd, Easter Cushnie, Gamrie, for two 99.5m turbines at Milton of Fisherie, King Edward.

It is being recommended for refusal by planning officers for similar reasons to the Backhill of Yonderton application and also because it would have “an adverse impact upon the character, setting and integrity of a scheduled ancient monument at Low of Ballgreen”.

Source:  Graham Crawford, Banffshire Journal, Tuesday, April 3, 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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