The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)
Windfarm blow welcomed by jubilant locals
Health: Concerns over asbestos found in landfill site win argument
Plans for an electrical substation linked to a controversial offshore windfarm have been rejected.
There were tears of joy and applause when councillors gave their decision.
Nearly the whole of Blackdog banded together to oppose the plans, citing concerns about heavy traffic, loss of amenities, noise disturbance and access to the beach.
Developers had described the plant – which would have been built on a former landfill site at Blackdog – as “vital” for the 11-turbine project in Aberdeen Bay. They will now have to decide whether to appeal against the councillors’ ruling – or submit plans for an alternative site.
Campaigners were celebrating last night after plans for an electrical substation linked to a controversial offshore windfarm were rejected.
Developers had described the plant, which would have been built on a former landfill site at Blackdog, as “vital” for the 11- turbine project in Aberdeen Bay.
But councillors blocked the proposals amid fears about the health of residents.
Their decision represents a huge setback for the £230million European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), a partnership betweenVattenfall, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group and Technip.
The developers will now have to decide whether to appeal against the councillors’ ruling or submit plans for an alternative site.
Last night, the decision which was made after a series of surveys uncovered traces of asbestos and other contaminants on the land, was described as a “victory for commonsense” by villagers.
Trump International, which has objected to the turbine scheme because the structures would be within sight of its golf resort at Menie, claimed the windfarm project was as “good as dead”.
US- based billionaire Donald Trump took to Twitter to congratulate the campaigners, saying they had “defeated the substation, stopping inefficient and ugly wind turbines”.
Edna Booth, the pensioner who spearheaded the Blackdog residents’ campaign, said the group wasready todobattle again if the developers appealed.
“The health of the people in Blackdog is paramount”
Todd did not rule out the possibility of challenging the council’s decision last night and said the team would consider all their options.
He said: “We are extremely disappointed. We shall look very carefully at the formal planning reasons given for the decision and take it from there.”
Members of Aberdeen- shire Council’s Formartine area committee debated the substation proposals for more than an hour yesterday, hearing representations from both Vattenfall and John Campbell QC, representing the Trump Organisation, and Blackdog residents.
Mr Todd urged councillors to back the plans, which he said would not only boost the north-east’s economy but put it at the centre of Scotland’s future plans for renewables.
He also stressed it was not “unusual” to find asbestos on brown-field sites such as a former landfill, and that strict protocols set by the Health and Safety Executive would be followed if any further traces were discovered.
However, Mr Campbell questioned the risks of approving the substation, adding: “You are being asked to grant planning permission for the excavation of a former landfill site that contains asbestos in a village of 82 houses.”