Mormond Hill windfarm plans thrown out by councillors

Mormond HIll near Strichen
Mormond HIll near Strichen

Controversial plans to erect 12 wind turbines on Mormond Hill on the outskirts of Strichen have been thrown out by members of the Buchan area committee.

At their meeting in Peterhead last Tuesday, councillors unanimously rejected the proposal from Turriff-based Muirden Energy.

The proposal had attracted a total of 416 representations, with the majority in support of the turbines.

They say that it is the ideal spot for the development and could help boost the local economy through a community benefit fund.

However, objectors raised concerns over noise, shadow flicker, landscape character and visual intrusion and the possible impact on the historic White Horse.

The Ministry of Defence had originally objected to the application on the grounds that the proposed development would have an unacceptable impact on the Air Defence radar at Bucha.

However, following discussions with the applicant, the MOD revised its comments and withdrew its objection, subject to a planning condition which requires an Air Defence Mitigation Scheme to be put in place before any development began.

In a report before Tuesday’s meeting, planning chief Stephen Archer said there was a level of concern, highlighted by representation, especially regarding landscape, cumulative impact, aviation and telecommunications and noise.

“Generally, it is important to note that no matter how accurately visualisations and photomontages are presented, they can only provide an indication of the potential visual effect of a wind energy development in a particular landscape,” he said.

“They cannot fully represent the full presence of such development when experienced on site in person.

“Commercial scale wind energy development tends to have a notably stronger presence in the field than visualisation techniques can convey.

“The proposal is considered to have an adverse impact on the landscape character of the local area, both individually and cumulatively,” he said.

“It has also not been demonstrated that the proposed turbines would not have an adverse effect on aviation links and radio communications.

“Therefore, the proposal is contrary to ALDP policy,” he added.

He recommended that councillors refuse the application on these grounds.

Cllr Lenny Pirie said he felt the committee had a duty to preserve the heritage of the area, adding:“I feel this proposal for 12 turbines will have a big impact on the local community,.”

As the planning application also comes under the jurisdiction of the Banff and Buchan area committee, it will now go before councillors there for determination at their next meeting.