August 2, 2012

Bid for £21 million Angus windfarm divides opinion and fails to impress planners

By Graeme Bletcher | The Courier | 2 August 2012

A £21 million Angus windfarm application has been recommended for refusal by council officers, The Courier can reveal.

The proposal from West Coast Energy (WCE) to build a seven-turbine development on land between Arbroath and Carnoustie will go before Angus Council’s development standards committee on Tuesday.

A report from planners recommends the application be refused on the grounds of proximity to properties and visual impact and councillors must now decide the fate of the major bid.

Each of the 126m turbines planned for the operational farmland near Hatton Farm and Netherkelly Farm, would be around the same height to the vertical blade tip as the two at the Michelin plant at Baldovie in Dundee, and would be clearly visible from the A92 dual carriageway.

The report stated: “Although the proposed windfarm would comply with some of the relevant policies and criteria in the development plan, this must be balanced against the significant adverse landscape and visual impacts identified by SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage), as well as the significant adverse visual impacts on residents in close proximity.

“These impacts are considered unacceptable and in this respect the proposed development would be contrary to development plan policy.”

WCE planning and development director Steve Salt said: “We understand the need for Angus Council to ensure that renewable energy projects are in the right place, as referenced in their policy guidelines on windfarm applications.

“This is why West Coast Energy have worked for over a year with the local community to ensure that we have a development that is right for the site and in the right location.

“West Coast Energy agree with Angus Council that we must tackle climate change and we welcome the council being a signatory to Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration, which commits Angus to make a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

As a whole, the windfarm could generate up to 17.5MW, with each turbine putting out 2.5MW.

WCE helped local community leaders form a community benefit forum, to determine how funds delivered by profits from a community turbine scheme should be divided up.

At its last meeting, the forum decided Arbroath, Carnoustie and Arbirlot should be entitled to an equal share of the net profits.

Should planning consent be granted, an estimated £8 million could be invested in local schemes and organisations over the 25-year lifespan of the windfarm.

David Sawers, independent chairman of the community benefit forum, said: “The Corse Hill Wind Farm and its associated community turbine represents a great potential investment in the Angus economy and the local community of Arbroath, Carnoustie and the surrounding area.”

Mike Cosans, chairman of Arbroath Community Council, said: “I will be attending the committee and speaking in favour of Corse Hill windfarm.

“We have been involved in the application from the beginning of the process and believe Corse Hill will bring economic benefits to the local area.”

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