Councillors disregard planners recommendations

Councillors were reccomended to refuse an application for the erection of three wind turbines last week however focused on the positive aspects of the energy producing eye sores and approved the plans.

An application from Greenspan Electric St. Fergus Ltd, went before members of the Buchan area committee when they met in Peterhead for full planning permission for the erection of three wind turbines on land at St. Fergus Moss

Councillors were recommended by planners that the scheme should not get approval owing to the adverse impact it will have on the surrounding lansdscape.

Greenspan seeked the go-ahead to install three 100m high 2.3MW turbines and associated infrastructure on the site, and with a large majority, councillors made the decision to approve.

There have been 19 letters of support received from properties across the country stating that renewable energy is a positive development that should be encouraged due to benefits in terms of the environment and energy security.

In a report to members, planning officer David MacLennan says renewable energy is a vital component of meeting Climate Change targets and as such the principle of wind energy developments is supported by both national and local planning policy and guidance providing the development can fit into the local landscape and can meet various servicing and other criteria designed to protect residential amenity, landscape quality and aviation and other technical interests.

“Given the amount of pressure for wind energy developments across Aberdeenshire it is essential that new proposals are carefully considered to ensure they comply fully with planning policies,” he says.

“This service is concerned about whether the landscape here can accommodate three more large scale turbines of this height. The turbines are higher than others approved within the area and could set a further precedent for future turbine development at this height within an area that is seeing a number of formal applications and enquiries for future wind development.

“Planning and environmental services (landscape) has concluded these turbines cannot be accommodated within the landscape and are incompatible on design grounds with the existing consented and built wind turbines in the locality.

“As a result it is considered that the proposed development fails to comply with council planning policies which require new wind farm development to be sensitively located in the landscape and to comply with the council’s policies and guidance on the siting of wind turbines.

Councillor Albert Howie argues the points made by planning officers. He said: “This is one of the most appropriate applications I have seen for wind turbines in a long time, there are no letter of objection and the nearest houses are a distance away. It isn’t a tourist area and you wouldn’t notice the extra height from where they are visible.

“To get the same amount of energy from a turbine only 80 metres high we would need eight, which would be much more of an eyesore than these three. I think this is the most ideal place for the turbines and I can’t see where the objection is coming from.”

Buchan councillors agreed with the comments made by councillor Howie and unanimously agreed to approve the plans.