SIR, - On Tuesday I watched in amazement the north planning application committee discussing the Wind Harvest proposal for Caithness.
The MoD (Ministry of Defence, Ed.) had objected on grounds of aviation safety and impact on Lossiemouth in particular. The applicant had failed to reach agreement with the MoD.
The conduct of three SNP councillors was bordering on ludicrous and certainly could be viewed as dangerous. Cllr Farlow could not understand how a “stationary” turbine could be seen as an aircraft. Although turbines are frequently stationary, how they are viewed on radar is obviously beyond his comprehension.
His question whether, if the MoD were ignored, the approved application could be “called in” was astounding. Why would anyone argue with the MoD when it was citing aviation safety as an objection?
Councillors Maxine Smith and Craig Fraser continued the argument about the credibility of the MoD's objection. Astonishingly, Cllr Smith said she had consulted with a friend who was an RAF pilot and was informed the turbines were not in the flight path. And yet the planner's report states quite clearly that MoD planes fly in the area.
Are these SNP councillors qualified to give a reasoned assessment of the MoD's stance or argue against it? Clearly not from the unreasonable comments they made.
With increasing numbers of turbines being speared into Scotland, aviation safety must always be of paramount importance, not something to be tossed around at a planning meeting. It's a very good job that the chair, clerk and area planning manager had a great deal more common sense.
On a last note, I have read the MoD objection; the reasons for their objection are clearly stated, and are repeated very clearly in the planner's report which all councillors should have read.
So I ask myself why there was an insistence by the SNP councillors that reasons had not been given, and the determination to challenge the MoD. Is this a new party line?