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Arbiter to examine plans for contentious windfarm in Angus Glens

The Scottish Government has appointed an arbiter to resolve a controversial windfarm application for the Angus Glens.

Renewables developer Eurowind’s plans to build a 17-turbine farm at Glen Lethnot near Brechin are with Scottish ministers and determination is due this year.

The Nathro Hill scheme in the Careston Estate would have a 60MW capacity, if the application is favoured.

And the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) has now appointed Michael Shiel to look into the application.

A spokesman said: “This case has now been transferred to the Scottish Government’s DPEA for examination.

“A reporter from DPEA will hold a public inquiry to consider this proposal and will report his findings and recommendations to Scottish ministers.”

Those who have already given representations are entitled to give evidence to the public inquiry, but must indicate this to the department by September 1.

A pre-examination meeting will be held around October 7, with attendance to be booked by the same date.

The John Muir Trust and Mountaineering Council of Scotland objected to the Nathro Hill scheme, following the removal of early barriers by RSPB Scotland and the Ministry of Defence.

Meanwhile, Eurowind has announced progress on its proposed “community benefit” package.

The firm claims profits of up to £1.4 million a year could be derived for the area if planning consent is permitted.

A meeting took place in Menmuir last week, following an initial gathering in Lethnot itself.

The meeting saw presentations from Eurowind and Local Energy Scotland, the Scottish Government’s advice service.

Eurowind director Ian Lindsay said: “All the meetings we have attended have been very positive and have helped move our relationship with surrounding communities into one of genuine partnership.”

The firm made a revised offer to communities in May, with a benefit fund alongside a 1/17th turbine sharing option lasting 25 years.

The firm states the fund would be equivalent to £5,000 for every MW of installed wind capacity.

Frances Smith, who chaired the Menmuir meeting, said: “I was pleased by the turnout and the interest shown during the meeting with questions being answered by Eurowind and Local Energy Scotland.

“We were successful in nominating three representatives from our area to join with Lethnot members,” she explained.

Gus Leighton from Lethnot who attended the meeting said: “It is great that the wider community is coming on board with this project.

“We still need to organise a few others to represent the Edzell/Glen Esk area.

“At that stage we can decide whether we wish to opt for the joint venture with Eurowind or only make use of the community benefit element.”