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Scottish Government overrules council and approves wind turbines near Johnshaven

Two Mearns wind turbines previously rejected by councillors have been approved following an appeal.

Plans for the 99.5 metre turbines at Paul Matthew Hill near Johnshaven were lodged in April last year by Renewable Energy Ventures.

The 2.3 megawatt turbines were previously rejected by councillors at a Kincardine and Mearns area committee meeting in February.

The councillors threw out the proposals on the basis that the turbines would have a negative impact on the landscape and nearby monuments.

However, an appeal was later lodged and the Scottish Government has now approved the original plans.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “Councils follow nationally agreed guidelines, and policies which inform the development plan – the main tool used in assessing and deciding on planning applications.

“These polices are open to interpretation, and decision making requires a careful assessment and consideration of all the policies and guidance.

“Councillors can, if required, rely on specific advice and the professional knowledge of their officers to guide them through the decision-making process.”

The spokesman added: “The newly published Scottish planning policy assists with a view to balancing the need to support the development of a diverse range of electricity generation from renewable energy technologies, while guiding development to appropriate locations.”

The turbines will be sited approximately 5.6km to the south-east of Laurencekirk on Paul Matthew Hill.

There are a number of schemes either pending or approved within 10km of the site including 35 large turbines that have been approved.

The proposal also included turbine hardstandings, new access track, sub-station building and temporary site compound.

The site is within a generally sweeping and undulating farmland landscape interspersed with scattered farms and woodlands.

A total of 124 representations were received when the application was lodged, with 16 in support and 108 in objection.

Councillor George Carr, who represents the Mearns area, said he did not see a problem with the original application.

He said: “This is another reason why Aberdeenshire Council needs better policies when it comes to wind turbines.

“Some applications are approved and then others can be rejected for similar reasons.

“If we have better policies, councillors would be able to make better decisions – right now it is just all over the place.”