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Plans to build wind turbine near north-east community blocked

A controversial bid to build a wind turbine near a north-east community has been blocked by the Scottish Government.

Peterhead and central Buchan councillors refused permission for Inverurie firm Green Cat Renewables to instal a 262ft turbine on land at Nether Hythie Farm, Mintlaw, in February, despite the council’s own planning service recommending it be approved.

Members of the Buchan area committee argued the turbine would be “unacceptable”, because of the cumulative impact which other structures have already made on the landscape. The Ministry of Defence also objected.

In an attempt to have the councillors’ decision overruled, Greencat appealed to the Scottish Government.

But the Planning and Environment Appeals department has now backed the councillors and thrown out the firm’s application.

In a letter to the renewables company, a government reporter said: “There are no material considerations which would justify granting planning permission.

“I note the outstanding objection from the Ministry of Defence, relating to the radar installation at RAF Buchan.

“In view of my conclusion on cumulative landscape impact, it is not necessary for me to consider this matter.

“However, given the importance of this defence asset, I would expect the matter to be satisfactorily resolved to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Defence before a planning permission could be issued.”

Greencat had made its appeal citing Stephen Archer, the council’s director of infrastructure services, who found the machine’s impact would be “acceptable”.

It added: “The proposal is considered to be well scaled to the particular landforms and landscape characteristics. This led to the planning service recommending the application for approval.”

In his report to councillors, Mr Archer said: “The proposal will have an impact on the character of the local area, both individually and cumulatively, and an impact from some viewpoints.

“However, this impact is, on balance, considered acceptable.”

Central Buchan SNP councillor Lenny Pirie added: “While I understand farmers need to diversify, I believe each turbine should be measured on it’s own merits.”