Couple seek answers on proliferation of turbines

A LOCAL couple are seeking to make the proliferation of wind turbines in Formartine an election campaign, after presenting evidence to the Times illustrating discrepancies in council voting patterns.

Andy and Valerie Webster contacted the Times to voice their anger at what they see as the unusually high number of turbines given the go ahead in Aberdeenshire, and Formartine in particular.

Speaking to the Times, Mr Webster said that while he wasn’t entirely against the concept of wind turbines, he felt the countryside was being increasingly threatened by large numbers of the machines.

“The problem is that the guidelines in Aberdeenshire for constructing turbines are particularly lax, and even then they aren’t always enforced by councillors. A significant number of the proposals are rejected by planners, then overturned by councillors - Does this mean that the councillors are more qualified than the planners? What is the point of including the planners in the planning process if councillors are going to ignore their advice?”

He added that Aberdeenshire CAWT (Concerned About Wind Turbines) were following numerous planning applications closely and scrutinising councillor attitudes to windfarm development.

“Despite the Scottish Government recommending a minimum separation of 2km between turbines and towns/villages, Aberdeenshire council have set their own criteria which appear to be the lowest in Scotland. The minimum separation is meant to be 400m or 10 x rotor diameter. Sadly, Aberdeenshire councilors frequently disregard their own guidelines and allow large turbines even closer to properties.”

At the last Formartine Area Committee on March 20, councillors dealt with applications for seven turbines in the area. Since that time, applications have been lodged with planners for a further five turbines in the area, as well as two wind measurement masts designed to investigate turbine feasibility.