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Fears for Bennachie over turbine ‘threat’  

Credit:  By Ann-Marie Parry | The Press and Journal | 20 May 2014 | www.pressandjournal.co.uk ~~

Campaigners fear plans for three 242ft-high wind turbines will ruin views of Aberdeenshire’s most famous landmark.

Proposals to plant the devices at the foot of iconic Bennachie have been branded “a disgrace” and a threat to one of the last unspoiled areas of the north-east.

But the controversial scheme has split public opinion – and the number of people supporting it almost matches the total objecting.

Kemnay-based developers Steve and Michelle Clark, from Kemnay, have tabled plans to erect the 900-kilowatt turbines on land at Cornabo, Monymusk. The top of the turbine blades would be visible from Cairn William and hillwalkers would be able to see the full development from the summit of 1,699ft Mither Tap.

The public can comment on the proposal to Aberdeenshire Council until Thursday.

The Bailies of Bennachie conservation group is compiling a formal response to the scheme but has suggested the time has come to protect Bannachie with a special “zone”.

Senior ranger Jackie Cumberbirch said: “We need to have a debate with community representatives about some sort of designation, as there is no protection for Bennachie.

“This would provide guidance for developers and help everybody to understand.

“I am not necessarily suggesting t hat Bennachie should be a national park but it is very much a focal point for the north-east.

“It is a managed landscape, but we need to safeguard t hat national amenity for future generations.”

Cluny, Midmar and Monymusk Community Council chairman Richard Lattimer said the application had divided opinion among members elected to represent the Monymusk area.

The group is a statutory consultee as part of the planning process and will decide in the coming weeks how to respond to the application.

Objector Hugh Falconer, who lives just outside Sauchen, said: “I think it is a disgrace that anyone would think about building three turbinesonthe scenic route up to the Lord’s Throat.

“It is mind-boggling.

“It is such an unspoilt part of the country and home to protected bird species.

“It is one of the last areas in the north-east that is free from industrial wind turbines and pylons. It is unbelievable.”

Forty-seven objections and 44 letters of support havebeenregistered for the Bennachie application so far.

Nick Orpwood, of the Concerned About Wind Turbines group, said: “I am pleased that members of the public are aware of this application and are commenting on it.

“Bennachie is a sort of symbol for Aberdeenshire.

“People in Monymusk are quite concerned about these turbines and it would seem like an important location.

“The people who are putting it forward obviously think there are energy benefits.”

Steve and Michelle Clark could not be reached for comment last night.

Oxen Craig, at 1,733ft, is the highest of the peaks in the Bennachie range of hills.

Source:  By Ann-Marie Parry | The Press and Journal | 20 May 2014 | www.pressandjournal.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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