A farmer has assured an Angus community that a single 246ft turbine is not the first step towards a rural windfarm.
On Tuesday, the area’s development standards committee unanimously approved Alan Joiner’s application for the turbine on land west of Dunsmore, near Menmuir, despite concerns raised by Inveresk Community Council over a number of issues.
The application site for the 500kW turbine is about 1.25 miles north-west of Careston and just to the north of Duns Wood.
The community council’s objection included fears over the scenic impact on the historic Brown and White Caterthuns, potential problems with TV reception and speculation that a planning approval could lead to a rash of turbines in the area.
Mr Joiner told councillors that his plan is a one-turbine scheme capable of providing enough power for about 350 Angus homes, and even the scale of that has been thrown into doubt by rapidly rising connection costs.
Planning convener Eric Lowson’s report recommended approval of the turbine, saying it was considered to be ”of an appropriate scale for the local landscape.”
”One of the key considerations is the setting of the hillforts on the Brown and White Caterthuns which are scheduled ancient monuments,” added the report.
”The Caterthuns have a prominent and dominant presence in the landscape particularly south through east to north-east.
”From their summits they command their environs and it is essential that wind turbine developments do not obstruct or detract from views both towards and from the hillforts which would lead to significant adverse impacts on the setting.
”In this instance the proposed turbine is approximately 4.7 km to the south-west of the White Caterthun. The visualisation confirms that the turbine will be visible from views of the Caterthuns.
”However, in this instance it is considered that the distance of the turbine from the hillforts is such that the Caterthuns will remain a dominant element in the landscape.
”Whilst there are other turbines approved and in the planning system to the east/south-east of the Caterthuns, given that the proposed turbine is located to the south-west at a significant distance it is not considered that there would be any cumulative impacts … or any scale confusion in the landscape with the different turbine types/heights proposed.”
The director said it was relevant to note that Historic Scotland had not objected to the scheme.
Mr Lowson added: ”Angus Council’s approved implementation guide for renewable energy indicates that as a guide the broad valley lowland in Strathmore has scope for turbines circa 80m in height.
”In this particular instance, the turbine will be visible in the surrounding landscape but it is considered that it has been sited to minimise impacts and that the turbine can be accommodated at this height at this location,” he added.
On the issue of potential TV interference, a condition of the approval is that a baseline signal survey will be carried before the turbine is constructed and a follow-up study carried out within weeks of completion.
Councillors were also told that each turbine application would be considered on its own merits, but Mr Joiner sought to allay worries that further windmills would follow.
He said the turbine would feed into the national grid, but revealed to the committee that a question mark hangs over the scale of the project as a result of dramatically increasing connection costs.
”Whether we put up such a big turbine remains to be seen ,” he said.
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