Plans to build four 220ft wind turbines near a natural burial ground have been approved, despite a raft of objections.
Green energy developer Green Cat Renewables had tabled plans on behalf of a local landowner for the four masts at a site near Petty hill, Fyvie.
But the scheme split public opinion, with the local authority’s planning team inundated with 52 letters of support and 32 letters of objection.
Yesterday members of the Formartine area committee granted planning permission – but with a host of strict conditions.
The Fyvie Community Wind Turbines development will be built near a natural burial ground and councillors quizzed planning officers about why they had not taken into the account the impact the noise would have on mourners.
Ellon and district councillor Isobel Davidson said: “I do think the objection about disturbance in the woods of rest is important.
“People enjoy visiting their relatives in Clovey Woods of Rest in peace and quiet – that’s part of why people choose to be buried there.”
Turriff councillor Alisan Norrie said: “I find this a very difficult application, I’m on the fence.
“Those that are for the application live outside the area or have interests in turbines. Those against live in the area and would be affected.
“I feel the installation of the turbines will have impact on those people leaving nearby and on the woods of rest.”
But Mid Formartine councillor Cryle Shand said: “If we start worrying about turbine noise at cemeteries, what’s our thinking about council cemeteries in villages or near busy roads?
“We would set an awkward precedent giving undue weight to the impact on this private burial ground.”
Turriff councillor Sandy Duncan echoed those thoughts. He said: “We’ve never done a noise assessment in a cemetery before, why should we start doing it on woods of rest?”
After a long discussion, members voted to delegate their decision to grant planning permission to the council planning team who will ensure several conditions are met.
These include investigating the noise impact on the burial ground, considering the impact on road safety, and confirming with the environmental health team they are satisfied with the noise study already conducted.