Multi-million Windfall to be Generated

By bellmannews / September 30, 2022
sunset through wind turbines

A WIND farm offering over £6 million pounds to the area in its lifetime has been given consent by the Scottish Government’s Department of Planning & Environmental Appeals Division.

EBS, Ireland’s part state-owned electricity utility company, can now build the Craigneil Wind Farm at Rickarton. It will comprise 11 turbines each reaching up to 135m tall. Once operating, it should generate enough electricity for more than 25,000 homes – around 20% of all households in Aberdeenshire.

Area Committee refused after casting vote

Last June, the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee refused planning permission for the proposals after a knife-edge vote where the chairman’s casting vote decided the application.

Councillors aired various concerns such as the impact on birds and aircraft but it was the sheer size of the turbines and their impact on the landscape that swung the decision. Committee chair Cllr Wendy Agnew described them as, ”like giants in a landscape.”

In her appeal decision notice Lorna McCallum, the reporter appointed by the Scottish Ministers, states there could be, ”localised significant effects upon areas of higher ground to the south of Stonehaven, around the Black Hill, between Stonehaven Harbour, Downie Point and Dunnottar.”

However Ms McCallum, visited the area and observed tourists at the War Memorial looking out to sea.

She states: ”I am content that the significant effects would be limited and that the proposal would not have unacceptable visual effects.”

‘High as a kite’ at windfall

When determining the wind farm, neither our councillors nor the reporter were allowed to take a promised community fund into consideration.

EBS are pledging £5,000 per MW per annum for the lifetime of the project – £176,000 each year. With a lifetime of 35 years, that means £6,160,000 could flow into the coffers of local organisations. As well as Stonehaven this money would be shared with two other community council areas – North Kincardine Rural and Crathes, Drumoak and Durris.

Stonehaven Town Partnership chairman and member of Stonehaven Community Council Jim Stephen was a vocal supporter of the development. He said he was ‘high as a kite’ to hear today’s news of the successful appeal.

”It is a game-changer for Stonehaven,” he said. ”I’ve talked with loads of people today, who are all very excited.”

EBS looking to deliver wind farm

Project Director Duncan Scott said: “We submitted an appeal on the basis that we strongly believe this is a good site for a wind farm – the application was recommended for approval by Aberdeenshire Council planning officers and received no objections from any statutory consultees. Now that the site has been found to be able to accommodate a wind farm, we want to work with Aberdeenshire Council going forward and be a long term partner and business operating in Aberdeenshire.  We will review the conditions and look forward to meeting with community representatives to outline the next steps for the project.

“We would like to place on record our thanks to Stonehaven & District Community Council, the Stonehaven Town Partnership and the wider community for their time and help to shape the Craigneil Wind Farm project. Since we first introduced the proposals, we have received a warm welcome in Stonehaven and the surrounding area. We hope to continue to build our relationships in the local area and we are committed to community benefit and shared ownership of the project. 

“Craigneil Wind Farm represents a significant investment by ESB into Aberdeenshire and we are committed to working with local companies to deliver the wind farm.”