A proposed windfarm on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park would make “a landscape of wind turbines, not a landscape with turbines”.
It was the view of Councillor Peter Argyle as he chaired a meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) which has agreed to lodge a formal objection to windfarm proposals with the Scottish Government.
Coriolis Energy wants to create the 26-turbine network on the Fasque and Glendye Estates, north of Edzell.
Each turbine would have a maximum height of 149.9m to blade tip – and capable of producing around 4MW.
In addition to the formal objection it now faces from the local authority, the development has been subject to a raft of objections including those from the Ministry of Defence, SEPA, RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage and The John Muir Trust who have all raised concerns along with three local community councils.
In a report to the ISC, councillors were recommended to object on several grounds including the fact that the proposed development would have a significant impact on a protected area which has a “sensitive landscape, high visual prominence, high wilderness and recreational value”.
Officers – who were praised by councillors for their “complete and reasoned report” – advised that the applicants had not demonstrated that the proposals would not have a “detrimental impact upon aircraft and aviation”.
They said it had not been demonstrated that the application of a ‘blanking’ area over the turbines detected by radar would be effective in removing the significant effects.
The objection will also be made on the grounds that an environmental impact assessment report has “underestimated” the potential landscape and visual impacts of the proposed development “which is considered to be incongruous and inappropriate for this setting” from popular hillwalking routes and viewpoints.
Councillors were unanimous in their objection to the proposals, with Councillor Argyle stating he had never seen such a “robust, detailed and comprehensive” objection to any development.
Lying within a special landscape area which offers some of the best views and most outstanding scenery in the Shire, Councillor Argyle said there was “no capacity for a windfarm of this scale” and no material considerations which outweighed the authority’s planning policies.