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Council to lodge wind farm objection

By Staff Reporter

MORAY Council will lodge an objection to a proposed wind farm on Speyside.

Rothes III Limited – a subsidiary company of Fred Olsen Renewables – is behind plans for the development of up to 29 turbines at a site 2.5km to the north of Archiestown.

They would be built on a 1779 hectare parcel of land, near the existing Rothes I and II wind farms, and are likely to produce between 100 to 200mW of renewable energy.

Due to the scale of the development, the final decision will be taken by the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit.

But the local authority is asked its opinion as part of the process, along with other statutory consultees.

During a meeting of the council’s planning and regulatory services committee this morning, councillors unanimously agreed to object to the plan.

That came after officers said the development, which would have a lifespan of 35 years, was contrary to numerous policies and would have "unacceptable significant landscape and visual impacts" due to the position and height of some of the proposed turbines.

While a section of the land is classed as a potential area for development, many of the turbines would be located close to the edges of, and outwith, that designation.

Officers also said inadequate information had been provided on how the developer would get some of the larger turbine components to the site.

Councillor Aaron McLean (Forres) said: "There is an area for development up there and it is quite disappointing that they have gone outwith that when we have given them an area for them to develop. The ones that are outside would have a significant adverse effect on the area.

"I'm disappointed as well that we are already past the date for consultation, it got extended to allow us to have this today, and we still don't have word from the developer on how they are going to actually get the bigger components into the site."

The impact on tourism and recreational interests was also raised.

The report stated: "Views from varying distances such as those from Ben Rinnes, Ben Aigen and the A95 south of Aberlour would excessively diminish the recreational and visitor experience where the countryside would be overly populated with windfarm developments."

Cllr Claire Feaver (Forres) said: "We all appreciate how important renewable energy is and the targets that need to be met, but it does have to be in the right place."

Should the development be given the green light by the national body, 26 of the 29 turbines will have mandatory aviation lighting.

The meeting heard that for the first time in Moray, the lighting would be radar activated and would become visible only when aircraft are in the vicinity.

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