Crisis looming over wind turbine developments

A 218ft wind turbine has been built next to historic Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, angering members, who claim they were not consulted.
A 218ft wind turbine has been built next to historic Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, angering members, who claim they were not consulted.

The controversy over wind turbine developments in Aberdeenshire took a fresh twist this week with a planning chief calling for a six-month ban on applications.

Peter Argyle, chairman of the council’s infrastructure services committee, warned that with a crisis looming there needed to be a freeze on all undecided projects.

It came as Donald Trump, a fierce opponent of windfarms, gave evidence yesterday (Wednesday) to a Scottish Parliament committee investigating the Scottish Government’s targets on renewable energy.

Mr Argyle said: “We now have a wind rush - an unprecedented number of applications for wind turbines, some 800 over the past 14 months, with applications still coming forward at around 40 per month, more than the rest of Scotland put together.

“This is having an increasingly serious impact on communities across Aberdeenshire, many of whom are feeling overwhelmed, both by the sheer number of proposals and by their seemingly haphazard, unpredictable pattern.”

He added: “We urgently need time and space to take stock. All undetermined applications should be put on hold by relieving the council of the two-month obligation (the period in which to make a decision on an application) - and also by removing the right to appeal on non-determination.”

Meanwhile, a row has broke out over a wind turbine built next to Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, two miles north of the city.

The 218 ft structure has been constructed near the 14th hole on the historic course and club members are claiming there were not consulted over the development.

Engineering firm Rubberatkins built it to power its global headquarters at the Aberdeen Science and Energy Park.

Ronnie MacAskill, Royal Aberdeen’s director of golf, said the club only became aware of the turbine plan several months after it was approved in June last year. He added: “The turbine causes considerable disturbance to golfers when teeing off on one of the strongest holes on this ancient, classic, natural links.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “We followed the proper statutory procedure in handling and determining the application.

“The application was considered by elected members in an open and transparent way, taking account of appropriate material planning consideration.”