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‘Robust’ turbines plans

Aberdeenshire Council’s new leader has vowed to push for “robust” guidelines to deal with the influx of wind turbines being built in the north-east.

Conservative Jim Gifford wants to see tougher guidelines introduced to help councillors judge the cumulative effect of the turbines, which are now a dominant feature on the landscape.

The local authority has received more than 800 applications for turbines in the last 15 months, with about 40 coming forward each month. This has prompted councillors to say they have reached “tipping point”.

Now the newly-formed coalition, known as the Aberdeenshire Alliance, made up of 14 Tories, 12 Liberal Democrats and nine Independents, wants the council’s planning service to take action.

Mr Gifford has previously asked the Scottish Government to halt applications until better guidance on the impact of the structures is forthcoming.

While that was at a personal level, the Mid Formartine councillor now wants the administration to see the local authority’s planning service produce better guidance.

He said: “We’ve been asking for years for better guidance on cumulative guidelines on turbines, so that’s definitely something we will be focusing on.

“We need a robust, specific strategy on this which is something the council could do through supplementary guidance. That needs to be brought forward.”

The council leader said the proliferation of turbines in the north-east not only affected the landscape and personal amenities but also the distribution of power.

He added: “There are two aspects to it – the turbines themselves going up and the problems that can be caused by them, and on the other side of it the power that is created by them.

“I attended a seminar a couple of years ago where a retired hydro board engineer discussed the instability on the grid because of wind turbine distribution. He said that with power stations, you knew how much was being generated and could turn it on and off as needs be, but with turbines there’s no such control. The turbines are producing energy in a haphazard away.”