ABERDEENSHIRE councillors yesterday united in voicing their total opposition to controversial plans to build Scotland’s largest inland wind farm in a forest near Huntly.
And members of the authority’s Marr area committee also called for a halt to any further renewable energy schemes in the area until the Scottish Executive, which has the final say on the development, comes up with "proper guidelines" for wind farm developments.
The application by Amec Wind Energy to erect almost 50 turbines at Clashindarroch Forest has sparked a storm of local protest and led to claims that the Forestry Commission may be acting illegally in allowing a wind farm to be built on its land.
Amec is seeking permission to establish a 47-turbine wind farm over 966 hectares of Forestry Commission land at Clashindarroch Forest. Each of the turbines is 328ft in height.
The plan will require the felling of almost two square miles of immature trees and the creation of an access road through a Scottish Natural Heritage site of special scientific interest.
The farm will be capable of producing around 80 megawatts of electricity, enough to power almost 50 per cent of the 280,000 homes in Aberdeenshire.
As the proposed development would produce more than 50 megawatts of power, the application has to be dealt with directly by the Scottish Executive under the Electricity Act.
But yesterday, at a consultation meeting in Alford, Aberdeenshire Council’s Marr area committee voted unanimously to oppose the application and to demand a moratorium on wind farm projects until a coherent strategy for the development of alternative energy schemes has been drawn up by the government.
Richard Stroud, the Liberal Democrat councillor for Alford, said he was concerned, as a member of the board of the Cairngorms National Park, about the impact the development would have on the new park, whose boundary is less then six miles from the site.
He said that what was proposed was a "massive development, believed to be largest of its kind in Scotland".
Had the committee been considering an industrial development on a similar scale for the area, the application would have been thrown out.