Plans for the Buchan area’s biggest windfarm have been dramatically scaled down following protests by locals.
Developers behind the massive green energy project, earmarked for land at Hill of Braco, south of Peterhead, have said they will slash the number of proposed turbines from 12 to eight.
The height of the masts has also come down from around 400ft to just under 330ft.
PNE Wind UK said the decision was taken following talks with objectors who argued the scheme would be an “environmental disaster”.
Next month, the Edinburgh-based renewables firm will unveil its revised proposals at public exhibitions at Longside and Hatton, on the edge of the planned development site.
But residents who formed a campaign group against the farm said the latest changes failed to allay fears about the project.
Earlier this year, placard-wielding protesters gathered outside public meetings hosted by PNE Wind.
Campaigner Michelle Emslie, of Blackhills, said: “We had suspected from day one that they were going to reduce the number of turbines.
“But we are still left looking at a huge development. This simply isn’t the right location for it.”
She added: “I would like to stress that I am not against renewable energy in any form but I am extremely concerned about the inappropriate siting of this windfarm and the extreme sensitivity of this site.”
Fellow objector Steve Wilkes said: “These turbines are 330ft tall – but they are on top of a 440ft hill, so they will be very visible for miles around.”
A PNE spokeswoman said: “The reduction in the height and number of turbines at the site is a result of the detailed analysis andadvice PNE received from specialist consultants, members of the local community and statutory consultees.
“PNE has employed specialist independent hydrologists to assess any potential effects the project could have on the existing hydrology on the site. This information will be submitted, along with the planning application, for scrutiny from Aberdeenshire Council and hydrological specialists at Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).”
She added: “PNE is confident that the Hill of Braco windfarm will feature a design which is sensitive to the natural features of the site and represents the best practical environmental option for a windfarm at this location.”
Two public exhibitions on the latest plans will be held at Longside Episcopalian Church Hall on Thursday, November 1, from 3-8pm and Hatton Village Hall the following day at the same time.
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