Councillors reject plans for seven-turbine wind farm in Moray

The move is counter to officer recommendations to approve the proposal in Moray.

Councillors reject plans for seven-turbine wind farm in Moray iStock
Wind farm: Moray councillors have rejected plans.

Councillors have rejected plans for a seven-turbine wind farm near Dufftown in Moray.

Members of the planning and regulatory services committee voted against the application by eight to three at a meeting on Tuesday. There were also two abstentions.

The move is counter to officer recommendations to approve the proposal subject to conditions as an acceptable departure from the local development plan.

Energiekontor UK Ltd submitted the application for the Garbet wind farm around 3.5 miles south east of Dufftown.

However, many members felt the visual and environmental impact of the seven 623ft turbines and associated infrastructure were too great.

The location falls against the Moray Council boundary with Aberdeenshire Council, and although the neighbouring local authority did not lodge an objection to the wind farm they did raise serious concerns.

A total of 40 representations were made in relation to the application with the majority of the 21 comments against it coming from Aberdeenshire residents.

Sixteen comments were in favour of the development.

Frank Brown, Conservative councillor for Elgin North, put forward a motion rejecting approval, seconded by Claire Feaver, Conservative councillor for Forres.

Cllr Brown raised concerns over the combined impact of wind warms with Clashindarroch and Dorenell in the vicinity, light pollution as well as the visual and environmental impact on the surrounding areas.

He said: “I think there is always a balance to be had, but my view is the cumulative impact of all the significant adverse impacts, and when we add them together it makes this an unacceptable departure.”

Independent councillor for Speyside Glenlivet, Derek Ross, agreed that the wind farm would have a detrimental impact on the area.

He said: “We’re moving from a landscape with turbines to turbines with landscape. If you don’t believe me go to the top of Ben Rinnes.

“There are grave concerns about this particular application regarding the flora and fauna, and there has to be concerns we’re losing these areas because we are in a fully industrialised landscape in terms of wind turbines.”

David Bremner, committee chairman and SNP councillor for Fochabers Lhanbryde, backed the proposal and was seconded by SNP councillor for Buckie Sonya Warren.

He said: “I agree with councillor Brown that it is a matter of balance, and on balance and officer recommendation I think it’s one of the best wind farm applications we’ve seen.

“All the supporting documents shows the visual impact is minimal throughout Moray and consultees are happy. I see no reason to refuse.”

Legal services manager Aileen Scott advised as the application had been rejected against recommendations, if an appeal was lodged it would be members and not officers who would have to argue their case.

By local democracy reporter Hazel Lawson

More on