Residents living near the site where a north-east peer has launched his fourth attempt to build wind turbines have vowed to fight the scheme once more.
Lord Nicol Stephen, a former Liberal Democrat MSP who set up Renewable Energy Ventures after his retirement from Holyrood, has resurrected plans for two turbines near Blackhills Farm, Cushnie.
Aberdeenshire Council officers have twice sent planning applications back to Lord Stephen because of “factual inaccuracies” in environmental statements. A third plan last year was rejected by the council.
Lord Stephen has now lodged plans for two 325ft masts. He said the project had been scaled back, from three turbines, and he had taken on board the concerns of residents.
But the Stop Turbines in Cushnie (Stic) group is vowing to fight again. It was angered by his comments in the Press and Journal last week, when he said some people were just against the “principle” of wind turbines.
Stic chairwoman Linda van Weereld said: “I find it difficult to understandhow Lord Nicol Stephen can say he has taken the concerns of local people on board. If he had taken time to read even a sample of the hundreds of the quality letters of objection to his previous flawed applications he would realise that this is not about principle.
“It is about protecting a recognised sensitive landscape area and, the impact these massive turbines would have on it, its residents and visitors.”
Lord Stephen teamed up with former Body Shop director Michael Ross to set up Renewable Energy Ventures after 28 years in politics.
Their first application for Cushnie was submitted in February 2011, but it was withdrawn three months later with no explanation. It emerged later that the environmental statement contained false claims.
The developers resubmitted the application in November 2011, but it was sent back when the location of two turbines on the site plan was found not to match the grid references on the environmental statement.
The third was rejected by councillors after planning officers said there was not enough information about noise, shadow flicker and the impact on water supplies – all concerns previously raised by Stic.
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