Scottish and Southern Energy has won permission to build a controversial 16-turbine wind farm at Drumderg, near Alyth, writes Eric Nicolson.
A Scottish Executive reporter has found in SSE’s favour following a June public inquiry.
Earlier this summer, ScottishPower got a similar result over a proposal for a wind farm near Auchterarder.
Work on the £30 million, 32-megawatt Drumderg development is expected to start this year and be completed in 2008.
The reporter awarded costs to SSE against Perth and Kinross Council, which refused the initial application.
SSE says it will invest the money in energy and environment-related projects across Perth and Kinross.
Ian Marchant, SSE chief executive, said, “I am pleased the Drumderg wind farm has finally received consent, although I remain disappointed it has taken more than three years for this planning process to be completed.
“Our priorities now are to ensure that the construction work is carried out in a professional manner which reflects the concerns of local people.”
Almost 700 objections were lodged against the proposed wind farm and protesters lined up at the inquiry to speak against the plans, among them MSP Murdo Fraser, who lives in Alyth.
He said at the time, “The wind farm at Drumderg would have a negative impact on an area heavily dependent on tourism.
“It would be in full view of the A93 – one of the main tourist routes in the area – and would be detrimental to the local economy.
“Furthermore, the favoured route for the windfarm goes through the town of Alyth and would have serious consequences for the local community.
“The economic impact and damage this could cause to certain industries, such as tourism, could be huge.
“A windfarm could irreversibly destroy the local environment, which is hardly green politics. Tourism is vital to the area and I believe the last thing a tourist expects when coming to rural Perthshire is a metal and concrete forest of wind turbines blotted on to the scenery.”
Local councillors have refused as many as 16 wind farm applications, often against the advice of their own officials.
Now two decisions have been overturned at council tax-payers’ expense.
The council has been approached for comment.
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