March 12, 2013

Dead end for burial cairn turbine bid?

By Jamie Buchan | The Press and Journal | 12 March 2013 |

A contentious bid for a wind turbine near an ancient north-east burial ground faces being blocked by councillors.

Muirden Energy, the firm behind a separate scheme to build the northeast’s biggest windfarm, wants to fit a 260ft mast at Mains of Melrose, near Gamrie.

The plan has attracted widespread support with around 60 letters and emails to Aberdeenshire Council planners, praising the development.

However, the local authority has also received 14 objections to the plan.

Opponents argue that there are already too many turbines in the area and the proposed mast would have a negative visual impact.

Today, members of the Banff and Buchan area committee will be asked to throw out the plan, amid fears it is too close to a Bronze Age monument, known as the Law of Melrose.

A spokesman for the council’s planning department said the mast would be about 700ft to the west of the landmark cairn, which was reputedly the site of medieval executions.

“The cairn is designed to have wide views over the landscape and is a prominent feature,” he said.

Historic Scotland has also objected to the plan, claiming it would have a “significant adverse impact” on the prehistoric site.

The earth- and- stone mound dates back to some time around 2500BC – the early bronze age – and is believed to have been used for ancient funeral services and rituals.

The cairn, described by Historic Scotland as an “important and prominent feature”, is about 13ft tall with a 90ft diameter.

Turriff-based Muirden Energy said it is “improbable” that ground-breaking work at the turbine site would unearth hitherto undiscovered remains.

A spokesman argued that the mast would not have a significant effect on the cairn’s setting.

The company unveiled separate plans for a 12-turbine scheme on the slopes of Mormond Hill, near Strichen, in 2011.

Negotiations are ongoing with the Ministry of Defence, which has objected to the scheme claiming it will cause interference to radar equipment at RAF Buchan, near Peterhead.

URL to article: