Campaigners have slammed plans to build one of the tallest onshore wind farms in the UK just 30 miles away from Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire.
Proposals to build huge 820 feet turbines in Hill of Fare have been submitted to the Scottish Government with the developer revealing they would be “theoretically visible” from 20 miles away in all directions.
If built it would be one of the tallest wind farms in the UK, with 17 turbines planned for the site.
They would be nearly twice the height of Scotland’s tallest building, the Glasgow Tower located at the Glasgow Science Centre. It is 416 feet high – the equivalent of over 30 double-decker buses.
Hill of Fare is less than four miles away from Banchory which is known as the Gateway to Royal Deeside as it is the first town in the square of villages which are frequented by the royal family.
It is located near Braemar and Ballater which are visited by the royals when they spend the summer at Balmoral Castle or Birkhall, a favourite haunt of King Charles.
Developer RES is behind the development which if built would be seen from four different regions: Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus and Aberdeen.
Their plans have sparked an outcry from campaign group Scotland Against Spin who are calling for a reform of the Scottish Government’s wind energy policy.
Chairperson Graham Lang, said: “We have had many contacts from local people concerned about the impact the proposed Hill of Fare wind farm will have on their visual amenity and the noise that will impact on the enjoyment of their home.
“The owner of the site lives far away and will not have to live with the presence of the turbines and as one of the wealthiest people in the UK has no need of the rental income. The developer of course is only interested in their bottom line.”
Local residents have been urged to give their views on the plan in an upcoming consultation.
The height of the wind farm will stand about 30ft short of the turbines planned for Lethans Wind Farm in New Cumnock, East Ayrshire which have been stated as the “tallest on-land wind farm in the world”.
RES are developing the plans in partnership with Dunecht Estates and said that the wind farm would have an expected generating capacity of about 122 megawatts if approved.
It will apparently produce enough electricity to power 90,000 homes and create a reduction in carbon emissions of approximately 142,000 tonnes.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie told the Press and Journal that the turbines was an “imposing prospect not just for Banchory but for much of the North East.”
He added: “Considering these would be seen from Moray, Aberdeen and the Mearns, many communities should get their say. An application like this must rest on the wishes of those in the area.”
The Scottish Government will need to rule on the plans but it is likely that they will go to a public local inquiry like most wind farms proposals.
A spokesperson for RES said: “With the combined threat of rising energy bills and climate change it’s essential that we fast track our transition to renewables.
“Onshore wind can generate cheap, clean, home-grown electricity for consumers and now is the time to double down on the benefits the technology can deliver.
“In recent years turbine technology has continued to advance considerably, meaning that turbines are now more efficient, allowing them to generate a significantly greater amount of renewable electricity per turbine.
“Over the coming months, we will be talking extensively to the local community around our Hill of Fare Wind Farm proposal and, more importantly, we’ll also be listening to their feedback.
“We look forward to working with the community to identify their key priorities for local benefits and receiving feedback on the proposed design, which will then be used to inform the detailed plans.”
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