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17 March 2011
Wind turbine plan threatens Scottish stone circle

A contentious plan to erect a wind turbine may put under threat a prehistoric stone circle in Aberdeenshire (Scotland). The proposed development at Newbigging Farm, Chapel of Garioch, near Inverurie, lies just north of the Easter Aquhorthies monument. The stone circle is thought to be one of the earliest built in Aberdeenshire, and is classed as a scheduled monument, which is a protected site of national importance.
     Historic Scotland has objected to the application to build the 45m (150ft) wind turbine, which it believes would have a 'significant impact' on the setting of the circle. In a letter to Aberdeenshire Council's planning department, Historic Scotland's inspector of ancient monuments Martin Brann states that the monument is "characteristic of the Neolithic and early Bronze Age in Grampian". He states that the proposed wind turbine would be about 600m (2,000ft) from the stone circle. "In this location, the turbine will be prominent in key views to and from the monument and we consider that it will have a significant adverse impact on the setting of the scheduled monument."
     The monument consists of 11 stones up to 2.4m (8ft) high with a total diameter of just under 20m (65ft). One large 3.6m (12ft) stone lies horizontally, or recumbent, flanked by two of the upright stones.

Edited from The Press and Journal (15 March 2011)

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