Windfarm fears for Aberdeenshire landscape in landscape thick with turbines

Artist impression of the turbines proposed for Hill of Rothmaise, Rothienorman

Council officials have warned that proposals for two turbines in an area of Aberdeenshire where 20 windfarms are already planned could damage the local landscape.

Full planning permission is being sought by WPD Rothmaise for the 326ft devices on farmland at the Hill of Rothmaise, near Rothienorman.

However, planning officers have recommended that the local authority’s Garioch area committee reject the scheme at its meeting tomorrow. and there are 102 objections to the project.

Stephen Archer, Aberdeenshire Council’s director of infrastructure services, said the turbines would be contrary to planning policy because of their potentially “significant and unacceptable” impact on the landscape.

Within 6.2 miles of the proposed scheme there are 20 turbine developments approved, 10 of them within three miles.

There are a further four in the pipeline, while another four have been blocked by councillors.

Mr Archer said the scheme “could create a confusing visual relationship between the natural landscape and turbine development”.

Mr Archer added: “In principle, Aberdeenshire Council supports the installation of renewable energy facilities such as wind turbines.

“The turbines have the potential to be perceived as prominent features in the landscape when viewed from the surrounding roads and from parts of Rothienorman and Fisherford.

“Furthermore, the proposal in combination with other approved wind turbines in the local area would have significant and unacceptable cumulative impact both sequentially and simultaneously on landscape character and visual amenity.”

There are also plans for a substation about two-thirds of a mile north of the turbines.

A spokesman for WPD Rothmaise said the 25-year scheme would bring more than £575,000 of benefits to the local area and contracts worth more than £700,000 to the council during the construction process.

He added it could provide electricity for 2,650 homes.

“All statutory technical consultees concluded that the proposed windfarm would have no significant adverse effects on the local and wider area,” he said.

“The Rothmaise wind farm proposal presents an opportunity for local economic and community benefit whilst conforming with existing, consented and planned development in the area.”