Fate of wind turbines planned for site near north-east village to be decided by councillors after hundreds of objections
Controversial plans by a north-east energy firm to build wind turbines on the edge of a village have prompted more than 340 objections from nearby residents.
St Fergus Energy Limited hopes to build two 119 metre high turbines on land between the village and the gas terminal, owned by North Sea Midstream Partners on the nearby coast line.
However the proposals, submitted by Midlothian firm Green Cat Renewables, have prompted outcry from the community.
They are also at odds with the current local development plan, meaning they must go before a special meeting of local councillors.
Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan area committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss them and have their say.
Planning officers have recommended they throw out the plans.
In his report to councillors, planning officer James Hewitt, writes: The proposed development is contrary to Aberdeenshire local development plan policy E2 on landscape, as the proposal would have an unacceptable visual impact in and around the settlement of St Fergus.
“The scale and siting of the proposed development would compete with St Fergus Gas Terminal for visual dominance and would create a sense of industrial development encroaching upon an otherwise natural and open landscape.”
The development would includes two turbines with hub heights of 78m and blade to tip measurements of 119m, as well as a 5MWp Solar Photovoltaic Farm, battery storage units and associated infrastructure.
A total of 364 letters of representation have been received by the planning department, and of those just 23 are supportive of the turbines.
Objectors claim the structures would pose a safety risk and the operators of St Fergus Gas Terminal have also highlighted concerns – in particular over the proximity of the turbines to high-pressure gas lines.
Worries over the impact on the landscape, noise, road safety and the encroachment of the development towards the village have also been shared.
Supporters, however, argue it would be a welcome move towards a low-carbon economy, that the turbines would have a limited visual impact compared to the existing gas plant and that they would create much-needed jobs during construction.
The development site covers an area of 11.8 hectares, of which the majority already contains solar arrays and battery storage, though it is currently primarily used for agricultural purposes.
Its fate will be decided by councillors at a special meeting of Buchan area committee to be held online from 2pm on Tuesday, December 2.
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