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Moray council votes against new wind farm

A bid to build a seven-turbine wind farm near Dufftown has been rejected by Moray Council’s planning committee.

Energiekontor UK Ltd submitted the application for the Garbet Wind Farm, which is about 3.5 miles south east of the town.

However councillors voted against it by eight to three earlier today. There were also two abstentions.

The vote ran counter to the advice of the council’s own planning officers.

The officers had instead recommended that, subject to various conditions, the windfarm should be allowed.

However, many members of the committee felt the visual and environmental impact of the seven 623ft turbines and associated infrastructure were too great.

Councillor Frank Brown (Elgin North, Conservative) put forward the motion to reject the windfarm.

This was seconded by cllr Claire Feaver (Forres, Conservative).

With Clashindarroch and Dorenell already in the vicinity, cllr Brown raised concerns about the combined visual impact of a further wind farm.

He said: “There is always a balance to be had.

“In my view when we add the cumulative impact together it makes this an unacceptable departure.”

Cllr Derek Ross (Speyside and Glenlivet, Independent) agreed that the wind farm would have a detrimental impact on the area.

He said: “We’re moving from a landscape with turbines to turbines with landscape.

“If you don’t believe me go to the top of Ben Rinnes and take a look around you.

“There are grave concerns about this particular application regarding the flora and fauna.”

By contrast, the committee chairman David Bremner (Fochabers/Lhanbryde, SNP) backed the proposal.

This was seconded by cllr Sonya Warren (Buckie, SNP).

He said: “I think it’s one of the best wind farm applications we’ve seen.

“All the supporting documents shows the visual impact is minimal throughout Moray and consultees are happy.

“I see no reason to refuse.”

The proposed location for the Garbet Wind Farm falls on the Moray and Aberdeenshire border.

Aberdeenshire Council has not lodged an objection to it, although its planning committee did raise some serious concerns when they discussed the issue.

A total of 40 representations from the public were also made in relation to the application.

The majority of the 21 comments against the wind farm came from Aberdeenshire residents.

A further 16 comments from the public were in favour of the development.

Following today’s vote, Aileen Scott, the council’s legal service manager, advised that the application had been rejected against recommendations.

Therefore, she continued, if an appeal was lodged it would be members and not officers who would have to argue their case.