Wind turbines for Torphins given approval

Two 45.5m high wind turbines are to be built on agricultural land at Torphins, despite objections from residents.

Charles Watt, via his agent 1 Stop Renewables, was seeking full planning permission to erect the two 225kW turbines, at land to the north-west of Upper Dagie.

They are to be sited at the top of the bowl formed by the Green Burn on the southern slopes of Benaquhallie.

The application was discussed by members of the Marr Area Committee, who met at the Learney Hall in Torphins on Tuesday (February 14). Aberdeenshire Council’s planners had recommended granting the application.

It had been deferred at a previous meeting to allow a site visit by members, undertaken last week.

The application drew eight representations, all of which objected to the proposal.

Ann Miles, of Geldie Cottage, Crathie, said in her objection: “There are currently no wind turbines of this scale in this area and to allow the proposed development would set a precedent. Deeside and its adjoining areas, which depend on tourism, must be protected from such development which will destroy the unspoiled rural scenery that visitors and local people value so highly.”

Simon Welfare, of Tarland, described them in his representation as “intrusive industrial installations,” and members of Torphins Community Council raised general concerns about the “haphazard locations of wind turbines in Aberdeenshire with little or no control/direction from the planning department.”

In a report to the committee, planners said objections included: The turbines would have an adverse effect on the landscape character; there is potential cumulative impact with other wind turbine applications in this area especially; there is no co-ordinated policies for wind turbines in this area, which is leading to a speculative approach; there would be an impact on residential amenity from shadow flicker and noise; the proposal does not have any social or economic benefits for the wider community and the site would affect views from the B9119, a key tourist route to the Cairngorms National Park.

The planners’ report also stated: “The impact of the turbines is perceived to be relatively low. In terms of cumulative impact and actual ‘assessment’ the information submitted falls short of what would be normally requested. Whilst further information would be beneficial it is conceded that this information would be likely to conform to the applicant’s premise that due to the scale and location of the turbines, the cumulative impact resulting from this proposal is not likely to be significant.”

Councillor Rosemary Bruce (Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside) said: “I think the site visit we went on was very useful indeed. I’d be happy to support the plans for recommendation of approval.

Councillor Peter Argyle (Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside) added: “I had considerable concern about this application when it first came in but it was wonderful to see the site and to see the impact on the landscape in general.

“Wind turbines are, by definition, haphazard because individual landowners are coming forward as and when. Looking at this one in terms of impact on the landscape and the impact it will have on people living in the proximity, most, in fact all, of the houses face in the opposite direction. The noise will impact most directly on the applicant himself. If ever there was a case for having wind turbines that aren’t white, this would be it.”

Councillor Moira Ingleby (Huntly, Strathbogie & Howe of Alford) said: “The colour was particularly noticeable and I would support anything that can be done to make them more camouflaged in that area.”

Councillor Jill Webster (Banchory and Mid Deeside) said she also supported the application: “I think the public can be assured that we take these things very seriously and look at each application on its own merits and how it will blend in with the landscape. I was quite comfortable with this application and there doesn’t seem to be a situation with cumulative impact as yet.”