Developers challenge substation refusal decision

Developers have appealed against the refusal of controversial plans for an electricity substation at Blackdog, near Balmedie.

Formartine Area Committee turned down the scheme, which is a key part of the Aberdeen Bay windfarm project, last October.

Blackdog residents Edna Booth and Nicola Brown who led the campaign against the electricity substation planned for the village.

Blackdog residents Edna Booth and Nicola Brown who led the campaign against the electricity substation planned for the village.

The decision was welcomed by villagers who had campaigned strongly against the substation link to the wind turbine plans for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

It is proposed for a former landfill site south of Hareburn Terrace.

The centre’s project partners have confirmed they have appealed.

Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited (AOWFL) – the joint venture behind the windfarm scheme - have stated in the appeal that the substation proposal is consistent with local planning policy and would prove a strategic asset to the Energetica initiative.

AOWFL have also gathered further expert evidence that health risks associated with asbestos found on the site are very low.

Andy Paine, head of offshore wind development for Vattenfall in the UK, said: “The EOWDC will prove a strategic asset to the North-east’s drive to lead the development and deployment of cleaner energy and, in particular, to Energetica - a 30-mile, energy industry-focused development corridor which aims to become a key destination for innovation, knowledge, learning and skills in current and future energy generation.

“The project partners have made every effort to engage and work closely with the local community to assure them that finding low level traces of asbestos in the ground is not unusual for a brownfield site such as this.

“AOWFL is committed to improving this area of ground if consent is granted for the onshore works in order to render it safer and of a higher quality than what currently exists.

“Following a detailed design process and extensive exploratory work, Blackdog is considered the most appropriate site for the onshore works and, as such, we hope that the appeal process concludes positively and as early as possible.

“There have been no objections from statutory consultees either before or after the Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted and Aberdeenshire Council’s planning service was supportive and recommended that it be granted approval.”

Residents say the appeal is disappointing, but not unexpected.

Edna Booth, who spearheaded opposition along with neighbour Nicola Brown, said: “We are all very worried about the health and safety of the village if they start digging in to this old landfill containing asbestos, they do not know what they will really find despite all their boreholes and trial pits.

“Another worry is the high volume of traffic during the construction period of 14 months if this gets the go-ahead.

“According to Vattenfall, there will be over 6000 extra vehicles on this very narrow road which has a nursery and playpark adjacent to it. Over 1200 of these will be heavy goods vehicles.”