Windfarm plans

MEARNS Community Council will meet on Monday for the first time after the summer break, when planning issues, in particular windfarms, are likely to figure large on the agenda.

Speaking this week, council chairman David Nelson said: “We have several planning issues to look at, in particular there are two applications in for windfarms.

“The N.R. Gammie Partnership have lodged an application for Easter Tulloch. They are looking for five turbines, 100m in height, the same as are at the nearby Tullo at present.

“Nearby at The Shiels, there is an application in for three 100m turbines.

“An application is not yet in, but Eneco, the developers of the Tullo Windfarm are looking for an extension to their site by a further four turbines.

“The first two applications have been lodged, so now is the time for the community council to make representations.

“Friends of Garvock will make their own representations to Aberdeenshire Council on these issues and there has been no communication, as far as I am aware, for them to attend our meeting.

“Windfarms are certain to be a major point of discussion and we have to decide how to go forward. We have to look at these applications in the round and consider everything in a holistic way.

“Government policy is to have as many of these things as a community can take, so whether we like it or not, we are going to have to accept a portion of these turbines on our doorstep.

“If that is the case then we must maximise the benefit to the community from them. That is not to say that we will be held hostage or bribed into accepting them.

“We have to look at the cumulative effect. I calculate there could be 20 turbines on the Garvock in a relatively small area if they are all approved.

“I have a map of the area which shows turbines approved, applications in for approval and those being scoped at present and it is eye opening.”

When wind turbines were first proposed for the Mearns there was considerable opposition among the public, but Mr Nelson says there has been something of a sea change in public attitudes in the years since.

“There are still those who vehmently oppose turbines. It is a contentious issue and we have to consider all points of view.

“With the speed of these applications coming forward we seem to be in danger of being flooded out with turbines. We must have a full and frank discussion of the issue.”