Green energy has sparked turbulence among Angus councillors as they get their heads around a string of windfarm applications.
At the first development standards committee under a new local authority meetings structure, members approved wind and water renewable energy schemes, as well as rubber-stamping the council’s response to the planned 200-turbine Inch Cape windfarm 10 miles off the Angus coast.
The council is worried about the historic Bell Rock lighthouse being dwarfed by turbines 5½ times its size.
The string of applications generated significant debate among councillors, who prior to the turn of the year had approved a near 200-page assessment for wind energy in Angus.
This will effectively become the “bible” for green scheme applications across the district.
It has stacked the odds firmly against future major windfarms – only one exists, on Ark Hill, near Glamis – by saying there are no areas of Angus with a capacity for extensive windfarms with large-scale turbines.
Bodies including the Mountaineering Council of Scotland have already welcomed publication of the assessment as a valuable tool in determining wind energy applications.
However, fears have been raised that the potential limitations on large-scale development may lead to a proliferation of single small to medium-scale wind turbines.
And the community reaction to one of the applications considered by councillors this week suggests the continuing drive for renewable energy looks set to generate further controversy as more bids come forward.
The proposal for a 112ft to blade tip 50kw turbine for a site near Carsegownie, between Forfar and Brechin, drew a number of letters of objection but was eventually approved by nine votes to two after a lengthy debate.
A separate plan for a 162ft to tip turbine north of Broom Farm, Tannadice was also unanimously given the green light.
Each of the applications had been recommended for approval by planners.
Discussion on the two bids also led to warnings from some councillors that the committee would be heading to a “dangerous place” if a refusal was subsequently overturned at appeal and expenses awarded against the authority.
Alongside the wind turbine approvals, Southesk Settlement Trustees were hailed for a 100kw hydro-electric scheme at Kinnaird Weir on the south bank of the River South Esk, near Brechin.
Independent councillor Bob Spink said the river plan was an “excellent scheme” and he encouraged other landowners to consider similar systems to harness the renewable energy resource.
The council has prepared a response to Scottish ministers as a statutory consultee to the scheme, which proposes up to 213 turbines with a maximum height of 705ft to tip, capable of generating 1,050mw.
The proposed windfarm will be nine miles off the Angus coast.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding