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Campaigners beat off peer’s windfarm bid

Controversial plans for a windfarm in Aberdeenshire tabled by Scotland’s former deputy first minister have been thrown out after nearly 18 months of wrangling.

Opponents have now called for Lord Stephen to abandon the proposals for the three 325ft turbines.

Former Aberdeen South MSP Nicol Stephen set up the firm Renewable Energy Ventures after his retirement from Holyrood last year, and earmarked Donside for his first project.

ut the application for land near Blackhills Farm, Cushnie, Alford, has been sent back to the Liberal Democrat peer’s agents Green Cat Renewables twice because of inaccuracies in the supporting environmental statements.

Despite changes to improve the document, planning officer James Wheater has cited an “inappropriate assessment” within the environmental statementand a lack of information about the impact the development would have on wildlife as reasons for refusal.

He also states there is not enough information about noise, shadow flicker and the effect on private water supplies – all concerns previously raised by campaign group Stop Turbines in Cushnie (STiC).

Mr Wheater also said the size and siting of the masts would have a “significant impact” on the local landscape character and visual amenity of the area and that their proximity to the local houses meant the application could not be supported.

Last night STiC chairwoman Linda van Weereld called for the developers to drop any future plans for the application.

Mrs van Weereld, whose house Craigstep would have been about 560 yards from one mast, said: “I would like to think that the developers have some humandecency and will leave this one alone now.”

A spokesman for Green Cat Renewables would not comment on the future of the project, but said: “We are disappointed that the project has been refused consent.”

Lord Stephen could not be contacted for comment last night.