Plans to expand one of Aberdeenshire’s biggest windfarms have been lodged.
The owners of Glens of Foudland, near Huntly, first unveiled plans to add another nine turbines to their existing 20-mast development last year.
After a public consultation revised plans for seven 328ft turbines have now been submitted to Aberdeenshire Council.
Operators GLID – a joint venture by Centrica Energy and EIS Energy Partners – say the extension will allow them to increase capacity, while having less impact on the landscape than a whole new similarly-sized site.
Phil Stokes, general manager of GLID, said: “The new turbines would be installed within the current site boundary and as far as possible we would make use of the existing connection route to the electricity grid network, access tracks and buildings.
“As part of the planning process, we have consulted with regulatory authorities, local residents and other key stakeholders and carried out detailed surveys to investigate the potential environmental impact of the proposal.”
The proposed new masts would tower over the existing 255ft turbines at the site, but according to an environmental impact assessment the proposed layout of the new turbines would ensure they were “visually balanced and cohesive”.
Nearly 50 people attended public consultations on the original nine-turbine extension plans, with the major concern raised relating to the cumulative noise of the additional masts.
However, the operators say that while they are currently working to replace the pitch rams in the existing operational turbines where they had become noisy, their study shows that the extension would not exceed the permitted sound levels.
Last night Strathbogie Community Council urged Aberdeenshire Council’s planning team to examine fully the cumulative impact the extension could have.
A spokeswoman said: “We would ask the planning committee to take into account the views of those living nearest the wind farm and to consider the cumulative impact.”
Glens of Foudland is the north-east’s oldest windfarm, and began operating in 2005.
The A96 corridor has previously been dubbed “windfarm alley”, due to other large-scale developments at Dummuies, Cairnmore and the recently opened £60million 18-turbine Clashindarroch scheme.