WINDFARMS were the subject of considerable discussion once again at Mearns Community Council last week as members debated what many see as the possible swamping of the area by giant turbines.
A significant number of turbines on the Garvock Hill seems inevitable, so the community council are therefore anxious to maximise any “planning gain” or “community benefit” that could be on offer.
Chairman David Nelson said that the company behind the Tullo Windfarm were seeking a further seven turbines, four to the north of the exisiting turbines and three on the Laurencekirk side of the hill.
“The potential impact could be quite significant,” he commented.
Mr Nelson said he understood the company were offering £2,500 per installed megawatt in community benefit, but stressed that this was only a starting point for negotiation.
“There is the potential for 22 turbines all close together (on the Garvock). We have asked how much any single community is expected to take, but nobody has responded.”
Member Chris Rushbridge commented that the public were becoming increasingly unhappy at their lack of any meaningful input on the subject of windfarms.
“There are in excess of 700 wind turbines in the pipeline for Aberdeenshire at the moment.
“In Aberdeenshire, turbines are permitted 400m from the nearest residence, yet in Fife it is 2km. Why the difference?”
The chairman replied that windfarms were a “cash cow” at the moment with all the government subsidies on them.
“There are millions of pounds at stake. These things pay for themselves in ten years and after that it is pure profit.
“The turbines that are being proposed are huge - 115m to the blade tip.”
Jim Stuart then asked if they were faced with the fact that the Garvock was going to be the place for turbines and they should concetrate their efforts on keeping the rest of the Howe free of them.”
Mr Rushbridge backed the comments made by Councillor George Carr in this newspaper when he called for a fundamental rethink on windfarms in Aberdeenshire.
Councillor Carr said that the emerging Local Plan will be up for review in five years and he hoped something could be done then to formulate a policy.