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Heat and power plant plan deferred by north-east councillors

By David Porter

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Plans for a Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP) near Banff have been deferred following a meeting this week by councillors.

Keil Green Energy is seeking permission to build two agricultural storage buildings, a CHP, and a building for Scottish Southern Energy (SSE) on a site at Keilhill.

The application was considered by the Banff and Buchan Area Committee on Tuesday, May 4.

The proposed agricultural buildings would be used for storage while the CHP would feature 20 wood gasifiers and a Taurus Gas Turbine.

Keil Green Energy would use the proposed site to relocate its existing storage facilities from Inverboyndie.

The firm currently produces seed potatoes for exporting and grain for local whisky distillers.

Heat and power generated through the proposed CHP would be used on site while the rest would go to the national grid through the proposed SSE building.

A similar proposal was previously refused by the Committee in 2019 and an appeal was dismissed by Scottish Ministers later that year.

The application received 40 representations, of which ten are in support of the development and 30 object.

Supporters have said the site would provide job opportunities, “cheap and clean” renewable energy and it would be “good for the future environment and generations”.

However those who object to the proposal have noted concerns regarding flooding, impact on amenity of residents and air pollution.

Prior to the meeting Aberdeenshire Council planners recommended the application be refused as the proposal would be “inappropriate to the countryside” and “no justification” had been given to explain why it could not be located at another site.

Councillor John Cox
Councillor John Cox

Councillor Mark Findlater said he was not comfortable with the very technical application and wished to defer it for more information.

However Councillor John Cox backed the application saying that they had to look at “the transformation of our north-east economy”.

He said: “Clearly there’s winners and losers but on balance this ticks a number of boxes with what we are trying to do – diversification, supporting rural economy, creating jobs in the locality.”

Councillor Cox added that the “positives outweigh any negatives”.

Fellow councillor Glen Reynolds said howvere there was a “worryingly inadequate level of detail” in the application to reassure him and he noted he would not support the plan at this time.

A motion was made by councillor Findlater to defer the application for more information on economic development and the technical aspects of the project from Aberdeenshire Council.

This was seconded by councillor Ross Cassie.

An amendment was made by councillor Cox to support the application and this was seconded by councillor Andy Kille.

After going to a vote the motion received six votes with one for the amendment.

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