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Formal review of windfarm guidelines  

Credit:  By Richard Watt, The Courier, 20 June 2012 ~~

The growing number of wind turbine applications submitted in Angus has prompted a formal review of guidelines in the county’s local plan.

As a scoping exercise for a 17-turbine, 50 megawatt (MW) windfarm at Nathro Hill near Brechin continues, the number of applications for turbines has risen steadily.

Yesterday in Forfar, the development standards committee approved infrastructure services director Eric Lowson’s report on the subject, with a view to formalising the council’s approach to new applications.

His preface to a guide for the local plan 2009, dealing solely with renewables and wind energy, states: “There is increasing interest through both informal inquiries and planning applications for the establishment of renewable energy projects in Angus.

“While the majority are in connection with a range of wind turbine projects, proposals for a number of hydro schemes have also come forward.

“This implementation guide…clarifies and expands on Local Plan Review Policies…and those factors that will be taken into account in considering and advising on proposals for renewable energy projects in Angus.”

In December, Eurowind UK Ltd announced proposals for 17-turbines at Nathro Hill, on the Careston Estate.

As 2011 saw 16 applications for single turbines and applications for windfarms at Carrach and Nether Kelly, it was felt a guide on the issue would be beneficial.

Mr Lowson’s report recommended the committee agree to the guide’s publication and note public response to a draft guide’s contents.

The infrastructure services committee published the draft implementation guide on February 6.

While there was some support for the council’s approach to defining layers of constraint there was also criticism that the published guidance did not meet the requirements of Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) because it did not identify areas of search or preferred areas for wind energy proposals greater than 20MW capacity.

Some respondents said there should be areas ofAngus where no wind turbine development should be permitted.

There was general agreement that mapping cumulative impact is problematic and as the position is constantly changing it makes it difficult to establish areas of search with any certainty.

There was some support for the view schemes should be considered on their individual merit. Mr Lowson added the guide will “establish those areas where there may be greater scope for windfarm development in Angus, but it stops short of establishing lines on a map/plan which could then be taken as areas of search or preferred areas.”

His report states that one area of confusion in the guide is the reference to a 2km separation distance in relation to potential visual impact and residential amenity.

It is affirmed that “the 2km separation distance comes from the Scottish Planning Policy.

“The 2km distance is the separation distance between areas of search and the edge of cities, towns and villages – it is to guide developments to the most appropriate sites and to reduce visual impact.

“It can also be used in dealing with visual impact from individual turbines.”

Source:  By Richard Watt, The Courier, 20 June 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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