Councillors ended hopes of a 12-turbine wind farm being erected on top of Mormond Hill yesterday after backing the local authority’s planners recommendation to refuse the application.
It is the second blow to Muirden Energy in as many months after councillors on the Buchan area committee similarly rejected their plans in October.
Green Cat Renewable’s director, Gavin Catto, whose company represented Muirden, was present at yesterday’s meeting of the Banff and Buchan area committee. He told elected members in Banff that the project could produce more than 100 gigawatts of power annually if they gave it the go-ahead.
But there had been concerns from members of the public that the 326ft turbines would have had an adverse impact on the character of the area.
In total, 416 representations had been made to the local authority on the plans.
There were also safety concerns raised by the Ministry of Defence and air traffic control agency Nats.
Speaking yesterday, Fraserburgh councillor Brian Topping said: “Some people might say the top of a hill is an obvious place to put a turbine, but looking at the information we’re getting, I think I would be leaning towards supporting the officers’ recommendations (to refuse).”
Councillor Charles Buchan said: “I feel Mormond Hill is a very special place. It’s not part of a series of high ground – you can see it for 20 miles. The visual impact would be very high for a large number of people.”
Banff councillor Mark Findlater added: “The first and foremost thing we’ve got to take into consideration is public safety.”
Last night, the secretary for Strichen’s community council, Stan Tennant, said the village was split between those who supported it and those who were against it. He said: “I think it’s very mixed – about 50-50 – because the firm had promised that they would distribute money to good causes about the area. I think that got a lot of people to support it.
“The community council didn’t support it, but they didn’t object to it neither. They were quite neutral in the issue,” he added.
Mr Catto was unavailable to comment on the decision.
A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council confirmed, however, that the company could now appeal the decision with the Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals in the hope of having it overturned.
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