Developers are facing an Angus Council thumbs-down for a green scheme they claim could generate a £1 million-a-year community windfall.
Renewable energy firm Eurowind is proposing a 61 megawatt windfarm of 17 134-metre-to-tip turbines at Nathro Hill, Lethnot, in a plan which will be determined by the Scottish Government.
The company has described the Careston Estate site as “probably one of the best in the country” for a windfarm.
On Monday, Eurowind released figures which indicated a joint venture arrangement with local communities could rise from an estimated £400,000 a year in the early stages of the windfarm to over £1 million in the final decade of the project’s 25-year life.
But the company may be facing an uphill battle after council officials recommended the authority should officially object to the Nathro proposal on the grounds that the landscape and visual impact on the Angus terrain would be too great. The possible move follows objections by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Cairngorms National Park Authority on similar grounds.
Some 217 representations have been submitted by third parties, 211 of those objections to the Nathro plan.
Angus Council head of planning and place Vivien Smith has prepared a report for Thursday’s full meeting of the council, which says the Nathro plan does not meet development policy for the county.
The application site is located in an area that forms a transition between the lowlands and highlands around the Highland boundary fault, states the document.
“The northern part of the site displays characteristics of wild land which national planning policy and guidance seeks to safeguard,” adds Ms Smith.
“The hills in this area provide a dramatic backdrop to Angus and are highly visible throughout Strathmore.
“The surrounding area is a popular visitor destination and there are well used walking routes, viewpoints and visitor attractions close to the site, such as the Caterthun hillforts, that are of high sensitivity.
“The impact of the proposed development on the landscape character and visual amenity of the area would be significant and detrimental.”
The report also suggested that the impacts would be exacerbated by other operational wind turbine developments in the area.
Eurowind announced last year that it was prepared to enter into a joint venture with communities whereby a community body would own a single ‘turbine share’ in the 17-turbine project.
Following a public consultation into the joint venture option last year, the developer said talks with communities will continue.
Eurowind director Ian Lindsay said: “Nathro Hill windfarm presents a once in a generation opportunity to secure a viable future for some of Angus’s most disadvantaged rural communities. It is a perfect location for a windfarm, with a massive wind resource, located away from iconic hill walking areas and with public support.”
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