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Planned turbine near burial site rejected

Plans for a wind turbine near a historic burial cairn in rural Aberdeenshire have been thrown out by government ministers.

The plans for a 260ft structure at Mains of Melrose farm at Gamrie, near Banff, were approved by members of the Banff and Buchan area committee last year.

However due to concerns from Historic Scotland about the impact on a nearby Bronze Age burial site, the application was referred to Scottish ministers who refused planning permission.

In a decision letter, a government spokeswoman said: “Scottish ministers directed Aberdeenshire Council, on September 11, 2013, to refer the application to them for determination.

“Scottish ministers hereby refuse planning permission for the erection of one wind turbine and associated infrastructure at Mains of Melrose, Gamrie, Banff.”

Council officers also had concerns about the cumulative impact of turbines in the area, as well as the potential impact on the Law of Melrose, an ancient burial cairn located around 230 yards from the proposed site of the turbine.

However, the applicant said it was unlikely any damage would be caused to the site by construction work.

David Allen, who farms at Mains of Melrose with his father Robert and brother Stuart, told the area committee: “The land that we propose to site the turbine on is around 8in of top soil on top of solid rock. That soil has been ploughed and cultivated over the years, so it is unlikely that anything relating to the cairn will remain in it.”

Council planners received 60 letters of support for the plans, but 14 objections were also lodged.

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

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

No one from agents Muirden Energy was willing to comment on the application.