Turbine decision deferred

AS expected, windfarms dominated the agenda at Mearns Community Council on Monday.

After a lengthy discussion, which included a breakdown of just how many turbines are proposed for the area, in particular on the Garvock Hill, members agreed to make no decision at the moment as to which schemes they may or may not object to, until all the applications have been lodged.

Chairman David Nelson gave the meeting some idea of just how many turbines could be clustered close together on the Garvock Hill above Laurencekirk.

He said the completed Tullo scheme consists of seven turbines. Three 100m turbines are proposed at The Shiels, on the west side of the Garvock; at Easter Tulloch, the Gammie Partnership are looking for five and Eneco, developers at The Tullo are seeking five in Tullo phase two, which would be just to the north of their exisiting turbines.

“I have been told by the chief planning officer that decisions will not be taken on these applications individually. A decision will not be taken until around four months down the line when all the applications are in and they are able to take a holistic view of the situation.

“Arbuthnott Community Council have already taken a position on Easter Tulloch and it is one of resigned acceptance.

“We also have to think - what is in it for us? What are the developers proposing in community benefit.”

Mr Nelson produced figures which he said had been promised by the developers. The exisiting Tullo scheme pays £17,000 per year and for Tullo 2 they are offering £31,250.

Easter Tulloch is offering £30,000 pa plus £10,000 pa for Cancer Research/treatment and they have said they want the Arbuthnott and Mearns Councils to administer it.

The Shiels is offering £15,000 pa, a figure which Mr Nelson said was negotiable and they would want Mearns Community Council to administer the fund.

Mr Nelson said this was a total of £103,250 per year, index-linked over the lifetime of the windfarms, which equated to over £2 million over 20 years.

Friends of Garvock spokesman David Johnston read a statement which said that their aim was to protect the Mearns from windfarms.

He said the community benefit was nothing but bribes to buy local support which could be withdrawn if there was local objection.