Tarves windfarm project turned down

An artist's impression of the proposed wind turbine development near Tarves.
An artist's impression of the proposed wind turbine development near Tarves.

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a multi-million pound windfarm in the Tarves area have been rejected.

Councillors on the Formartine Area Committee turned down the contentious bid for four turbines at Douglashead Farm at their meeting on Tuesday.

The proposed development attracted nearly 350 objections, including the Ministry of Defence because of radar interference - and local groups later spoke of their relief at the outcome.

Yowlie Energy Ltd - a company founded by four local farmers - was seeking the go-ahead for the 283ft turbines on either side of the Ellon to Tarves road near to prominent local landmark the Prop of Ythsie, which dominates the Formartine landscape.

Douglashead, Upper Ardlethen, Milton of Ardlethen and Little Ythsie farms were the proposed sites for the turbines.

But planning officials recommended refusal of the renewable energy scheme, citing the impact on the C-listed monument and also radar interference.

A report before councillors stated: “By their nature wind turbines of this scale will have an impact on the landscape and visual amenity to some extent. In this case the planning service has concerns regadring the erection of the four wind turbines and the impact on a number of buildings on the statutory list.

“The mid-19th century Prop of Ythsie, with its commending views above the Formartine landscape, would undoubtedly be the most affected by the development.”

Aberdeenshire Council received 435 representations to the application - 87 in support and 348 objections.

Letters in support mentioned the reduction in the reliance on fossil fuels, the opportunity for farm diversification and that the development would have no impact on the landscape.

Opponents claimed the windfarm would impact on the Prop of Ythsie, the character of the area and tourism. Other objections were to noise and the affect on wildlife.

Committee members backed the recommendation by planning officials to refuse the application.

Roy Henderson, who addressed Tuesday’s meeting on behalf of the developers, said they were committed to the area.

He told councillors the project represented a huge investment - £5-6million - and jobs would be created through the construction phase.

He added that farm businesses had been encouraged by the Government to embrace renewable energy.

Michael Brown, of the Ythan Area Community Group, which opposed the development, said after the meeting they were relieved that the application had been refused.

He added: “This has been a long four months for us. The community came together on this and stood together to object.”

Mr Brown described the number of wind turbine applications in Aberdeenshire as “out of control”. (See story on P6)