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Plans for 260ft mast on Aberdeenshire estate rejected due to safety fears

Plans to build a 260ft mast on an Aberdeenshire estate have been rejected by councillors due to flight safety fears.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Marr area committee had been recommended by its own officers to grant the plans for an anemometer mast on the Glendye Estate, near Strachan.

However, councillors voted 6-2 against the proposal yesterday after the Grampian Microlight Flying Club (GMFC) voiced fears it would be erected in an area used by small aircraft to travel south.

Anemometer masts are used to gauge the wind power potential of a specific area, and developers, Coriolis Energy, had been hoping to assess the site before establishing any turbines.

The company had been given permission to run studies by the Glendye Estate to gather information on wind speed and direction, and was seeking planning permission for a temporary three year period.

Yesterday, Aberdeenshire Council officers said the mast would not be detrimental to the local area as it would neighbour an already approved wind turbine development.

But they admitted it would be visible from Clahnaben.

Mike Taylor, chairman of the GMFC, explained that the masts are “very slim”, with little visual mass.

“Although tall, they are very difficult to see,” he said.

“Small aircraft regularly use this area to transit to the south, avoiding the Aberdeen zone to the north-east and the larger hills, for example Mount Keen to the south west.

“Aircraft are required to remain at least 500ft away from any person or object, etc, as part of normal air law. This is fine when the object can be easily seen, but test masts are notoriously tricky to spot.

“In addition the cumulative impact of wind farms and related development is limiting the options for safe navigation in that area.”

Councillor for Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside – Katrina Farquhar – said: “The Grampian Microlight Flying Club are really concerned about it. Where it was positioned, we felt it was going to be quite intrusive.”