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Objection to Hill of Fare Wind Turbines

Banchory Community Council has objected to the proposal to erect wind turbines on the Hill of Fare. A petition has been launched asking Aberdeenshire Council to object to the Scottish Government which would trigger a Public Enquiry.

You can add your name to the petition here:

The text of our objection to the Scottish Government was as follows:

Banchory Community Council is strongly opposed to the proposals submitted to the Scottish Government by RES for the development of industrial-scale energy production on the Hill of Fare beside our town. We object for the following reasons.

1. Negative impact on the appearance of the area
It is astonishing that industrial development of such a scale is being proposed in full view of a town of 7,500 people and a Special Landscape Area. The developer's mapping shows that there is virtually nowhere within Banchory that will not be visually impacted. The proposals are completely out of character with the surrounding area and would destroy the important rural setting of our town. Whilst Hill of Fare is marginally outside the Dee Valley SLA, it is obvious to even the casual observer that this development would be ruinous to the whole of the valley landscape. The application makes woefully insufficient effort to mitigate the impact on the appearance of the area.

2. Departure from policy and guidance
There is no provision for this development in the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan which was widely consulted on with communities and landowners, and is the recognised and agreed policy for land use in the area. It is deeply regrettable that the landowner has chosen to bring this development forward in this manner. The woeful attempt at mitigation of the visual impact is contrary to NPF4 Policy 11 which states that developments like this are only appropriate where impacts are localised and/or where appropriate design mitigation has been applied. Neither is true in this case. The impact of this proposal would not be localised - it would be pervasive and inescapable. NPF4 Policy 4 sets out the importance of safeguarding natural assets including landscape designations as identified in the LDP. As stated in point 2 above, a 180-200m high industrial power plant on top of the Hill of Fare will destroy the Dee Valley Special Landscape Area. Aberdeenshire Council's planning advice paper PA2023-21 Assessing Wind Energy Developments, which is also only a few months old, agrees that "wind energy developments are not compatible with prominent ridgelines, hills or sensitive skylines."

3. Negative impact on the natural environment
Whilst the wider positive benefits of clean energy are understood, the negative impact of this proposal on the immediate natural environment at the site would be disastrous and irrevocable. We cannot support the wholesale destruction of this biodiverse area on the edge of our town in favour of a time-limited industrial development.

Community polling was conducted using a neutral question whether people in Banchory would support or oppose the development. 77% were opposed, 11% supported, 6% were neutral and 6% were undecided. There is overwhelming opposition to this development proceeding which cannot be ignored.

Whilst we are supportive of the wider move towards renewable energy sources, this proposal is entirely inappropriate in its scale and location. We have very productive wind farms nearby which have been designed to have as little visual impact as possible on this highly populated area and we are at a loss to understand why this application continues to be pursued with so little public support.

We expect the Scottish Government to listen to the will of the public rather than to the whims of speculative developers.


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