Experts have warned that plans to site a wind turbine near the north-east coast could cause chaos for offshore helicopter operators.
Air traffic controllers have lodged an objection to the proposed scheme – which involves a single 220ft mast. It would be built at Braco Farm, west of Fraserburgh, close to a vital radar station at Allanshill.
Aircraft heading to and from oil and gas fields in the Moray Firth fly over the area every day. The radar is used by air traffic controllers in Aberdeen.
The plans have been lodged by David Abernethy, of Braco Farm, for a field south-west of the Rosehearty village boundary, about six miles along the coast from Fraserburgh.
The National Air Traffic Service (Nats) has lodged an official objection to the proposal, claiming it would cause “unacceptable” interference to the radar.
A spokesman for the service told the Press and Journal last night: “We object to a tiny percentage of windfarm applications.
“Last year, we received more than 2,000 wind turbine development applications, yet some 98% raised no objection from us.
“Where we object, it is on the grounds of aviation safety and efficiency – they create clutter on radar screens. We always seek to talk to developers at the beginning of the planning process to help inform their application.”
He added: “Allanshill radar station is part of our radar network that allows us to provide safe and efficient air traffic control services to our customers in the area and out into the North Sea.”
He said the mast would have the potential to interfere with offshore helicopter flights to and from Aberdeen International Airport. Last night, Forres-based aviation expert and light-aircraft pilot David Morgan backed the objection and said it was “beyond belief” that the plan had been put forward in the first place. “No chances can possibly be taken with the possibility of interference,” he said. “Even the visual impact is troubling, as flashing lights can cause distraction for the pilot.
“Turbines should be sited so far away from aircraft that there is no chance of any possible danger.
“If you fly across Scotland as I do, it’s a disgrace to see how much of our wonderful scenery has been spoiled by turbines.
“It is beyond belief that they could threaten aviation too.” Local authority officials have told members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Banff and Buchan area committee that the “proposal for a wind turbine will cause unacceptable interference to the primary and secondary radar service at Alanshill”.
Councillors have already agreed to hold a site meeting before making a ruling on the scheme.
Troup member Hamish Partridge said the visit was necessary to “discuss further why the proposed turbine would have an adverse impact on the coastal zone”.
A spokesman for the project’s agent, Midlothian-based Green Cat Renewables, declined to comment.