Planning committee chairman puts final nail on Brown Muir windfarm plans

Vento Ludens plans for wind farm near Rothes is rejected
Vento Ludens plans for wind farm near Rothes is rejected

PLANNING COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN Councillor Chris Tuke used his casting vote on Tuesday to end a long-running bid for the creation of a windfarm on Brown Muir.

The controversial proposal has been the subject of community protests – but despite the latest renewed bid having attracted 1300 objections SNP councillors sought to force it through against the recommendation of planning officials.

Having withdrawn a previous bid under local pressure developers sought to have a reduced plan of 12 wind turbines passed through the planning process for the site between Elgin and Rothes.

However, planning officers said that the proposal should be rejected because of the “visual impact” it would have on the landscape.  That was rejected by former SNP leader at Moray Council, Pearl Paul, who put forward a motion that the application be accepted.

Her move was seconded by fellow SNP councillor Mike McConachie, with both leaning on the side of the 20 supporting submissions made in favour of the development. When council convener Allan Wright moved an amendment that the bid be rejected that was seconded by independent councillor and committee chairman Chris Tuke.

With the vote for and against the proposal locked at six apiece, Councillor Tuke used his casting vote to accept the officers’ recommendation and reject the application.

The firm behind the bid, Vento Ludens, first submitted a Section 36 application for a 19-turbine windfarm on the site in June 2012. In August the following year they withdrew that application following a “full and thorough review” of the feedback they received from the local community.

The firm then submitted a new application to the Moray Council in October 2014, informed by an Environmental Impact Assessment as well as pre-application consultation.