Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has called in a controversial planning application for a commercial wind-parc near Aberdeen airport.
He has appointed a Planning Reporter to determine the appeal by the developer Infinis Energy plc – chaired by Ian Marchant, former chief executive of SSE – against the refusal of planning permission by Aberdeenshire Council for the erection of 5 wind turbines and associated development on land at Hill of Fishrie, Crudie, Banff.
The Reporter has decided to hold inquiry sessions to hear further evidence with regard to the proposed developments impact on radar and air traffic communications and noise impact on nearby residents.
The development was rejected by Aberdeenshire councillors last year after concerns were raised by the nearby airport.
The application – first submitted in 2011 – proposes to build on the Hill of Fishrie, just north of the A98 and approximately two miles north of Crudle. Although the site itself does not bring any environmental risk, objections have still been raised by local residents, Aberdeen Airport and the nearby National Air Traffic Services (NATS).
The development will consist of five turbines with a height of 100m and could generate the equivalent of the annual electricity use of around 6,000 UK households. If the proposal is approved, the turbines will have a life span of 25 years and will take around 12 months to construct.
Aberdeen airport claims the development will cause radar interference and NATS claims it will have a similar impact on Prestwick airport outside Glasgow, as well as military aircraft.
Following these objections, two inquiries have been called for the coming months. The first will assess the impact that the site will have on radar and air traffic communications, the second will look at the potential noise problems for nearby residents. The inquiries will allow both supporters and objectors of the development to debate the issue.
Inifinis is the UK’s leading generator of purely renewable power and is owned by Terra Firm, a private equity company. Its agent in this application is Arcus Consulting.