The Griffin Forest windfarm site is “one of the best locations” in Perthshire, Green MSP Mark Ruskell told the inquiry.
The representative for Mid-Scotland and Fife, pictured right, pointed out that his party had “consistently argued” that development of onshore wind energy has an important role to play in the electricity generation mix, as part of the global solution to climate change.
Perthshire also had the potential to contribute to the Scottish Executive’s renewable energy target from a limited number of well-sited windfarms within the county.
He contended that from among the many wind energy schemes proposed across Perthshire, Griffin Forest stands out as one of the best locations for a windfarm because the site is largely “industrial forestry” of low biodiversity, and is within one of the council’s “preferred locations.”
He added: “I have decided to back the Griffin Forest scheme at the public inquiry, not because I want to see windfarms everywhere across Perthshire, but because I believe that if you support onshore windfarms in principle, then you have a responsibility to say where they should go.
“I accept that multiple windfarms across Highland Perthshire could be detrimental to tourism, which is why we should focus on one large scheme in one of the least sensitive sites.
“We have a responsibility to future generations to tackle climate change and meet renewable energy targets. We won’t achieve that goal exclusively through small scale projects, so we are going to need a limited number of larger scale developments like Griffin to make any progress.
“There are limits to the capacity of a landscape to absorb large scale windfarm developments without causing a major visual impact. I hope that by the end of this year decisions on all the pending large scale windfarm applications in Perthshire can be reached and that the door can then be effectively closed to new schemes, with the exception of smaller community initiatives.”
He acknowledged that although Drumderg and Greenknowes had both recently secured approval in Perthshire, there was still scope for a single windfarm that was sensitively located in Highland Perthshire, away from these other two locations.
“My preference is to see the Griffin Forest scheme developed as an example of a good application, in a good location.”
Mr Ruskell also dismissed Tory MSP Murdo Fraser’s attack on all windfarm applications, regardless of their individual merits.
He added: “The Tories at Westminster are calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, but here they are opposing every windfarm application in the country. It’s about time Mr Fraser told us where he thinks a good location for a windfarm in Perthshire would be.”
By Les Stewart
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