Council planning officers will take account of all opinions, including yours. The following are some of the steps in the planning process.
- The planning officers in Aberdeenshire Council have asked for formal comments about the proposal from consultees such as other Council officers, e.g. Environmental Health and from organisations with an interest in the scheme, such as the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland, Scottish Rights of Way, RSPB and many more. You can read the views of consultees as they are posted for APP/2013/2279.
- If the planning officers think the developers have not provided adequate information, they may insist that they clarify certain issues by carrying out further work. Should this be the case, there may be a further period of public consultation.
- Once the deadline for submissions has passed, and the planning officials have enough information, the case officer will write a report and either make a decision to accept or refuse the application.
- In some cases, the planning officer will be unable to make the decision him/herself and the case will be referred to local Councillors at one of the scheduled meetings of the Marr Area Planning Committee. If this happens, the planning officer will set out the issues raised and make a recommendation, based on the report, to the Councillors to either accept or reject the application. The councillors, however, do not have to follow the Council officer’s recommendation.
- If there is a meeting, anyone who has written to object to or support the application (“made a representation”) can apply in advance to make a “representation in person”, i.e. make a short speech to the Committee at that meeting. It is likely that a representative of the developer’s agent, Green Cat Renewables, will speak at the committee meeting. The Councillors will then discuss the wind farm proposal and either make a decision on a vote or postpone their decision in order for further work to be done or to make a site visit.
- Anyone who made a representation will be informed by letter of the Marr Area Planning Committee’s final decision.
It is important that you know that, if the councillors decide to accept the application, i.e. allow the turbines to be built, the public has no right of appeal against the Committee’s decision except on a point of law.
The developers can, however, appeal against a refusal by the Committee. To do this, the developer must apply to the Scottish Government’s Department of Planning and Environmental Appeals within three months stating its grounds for appeal. This is often just a restatement of the case. The Council can then respond to the developer’s grounds for appeal. A Reporter (Inspector) may be appointed to review the case and a Public Local Inquiry may be held at which the public may be given the opportunity for further comment.
This is the FOURTH application to build turbines at Blackhills. Please take time to write and object and let the planning officials know that, even if they were a viable option, this is not the place to build industrial wind turbines.
The Councillors want to know what you think. Your opinion is valued and you should let your representatives know in writing.