The developer of the proposed Hill of Fare wind farm has changed its plans for towering turbines set to be built in Aberdeenshire following public consultation.
The controversial wind farm due to be developed less than four miles from Banchory has revised the height and placement of up to 17 turbines, the highest of which would stand at some 820ft.
Under previous plans from developer RES these would have been “theoretically visible” with viewpoints from 20 miles away in all directions, from Moray to Angus, according to planning documents.
However, the revised outlook for the onshore wind farm reduces the height of the turbines, incorporating a mix of 590 feet and 656ft tall structures.
RES also plans on dropping the number of turbines from 17 to 16 after receiving 380 comments in a four-week public consultation last year.
The developer confirmed to Energy Voice that the revised design includes 11 turbines at 590ft and 5 turbines at 656ft.
A final run of local public exhibitions will be held by RES this summer to present the updated designs and give locals another opportunity to speak with the team and comment on the proposal before the final scheme is submitted to planners.
‘Spooked by the size’
Previously, locals and the MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Andrew Bowie, have struck out against the renewables project being developed in partnership with Dunecht Estates.
On the revamped design the MP said: “As the constituency MP, I’ve heard about the proposed development from many residents.
“Most supported the aims behind renewables but were frankly spooked by the size and scope of this wind farm.
“There is also a concern about cumulative impact as more applications go in around Hill of Fare.
“So it’s good that RES has shown there is room for manoeuvre.
“But this application will undoubtedly rise or fall on the back of local opinion.
“Further consultation events over the summer will tell RES whether the informal changes proposed will be enough to earn local backing.”
‘Lots of great feedback’
The firm behind the proposed wind farm has said that it received “lots of great feedback” from the consultation process last year that is helping inform the future of the project.
Gavin Shirley, Development Project Manager at RES, explained: “We received lots of great feedback from our October 2022 exhibitions, with more than 380 comments forms being submitted to RES providing almost 3,000 comments across a wide range of topics.
“The largest area of interest was the community benefits that the project could deliver to the local area, followed by landscape and visual considerations.
“RES’ unique LEDS scheme currently benefits over 5,000 properties across the UK and proved a popular potential benefit at our first public events. We would like to again thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts with us on the proposal.”
‘Simply too big’
The original plans for the Hill of Fare wind farm caused a stir when news of the project hit the headlines, with many voicing concern over the proposal.
Andrew Bowie did not shy away from voicing his concerns regarding the initial plans for RES’ Banchory-based wind farm.
Previously, the MP had said the planned 820ft were “simply too big.”
Mr Bowie wrote: These turbines will be of a scale not seen on the Scottish landscape ever before, they constitute a substantial deviation from Aberdeenshire Council’s recommended tip height of 250ft and will tower above natural landmarks for miles in all directions”
Details on the visibility of the turbines at their revised height will be confirmed at the next public consultation period.
Locals such as Frank Murray of Midmar had also expressed concerns in the past, having lived in his home for 40 years he has enjoyed the “peace and tranquillity of the surrounding countryside” but was worried that this will be ruined if the original plans came to fruition.