Plans for a £4 million windfarm in the Ochil Hills in Kinross-shire would have “some local environmental effects,” a report has conceded.
But, following a lengthy process of project design, environmental assessment and consultation, it is concluded that an “environmentally acceptable” windfarm can be constructed on land at Tillyrie Farm, four kilometres north-west of Milnathort.
A planning bid for five turbines, with a maximum blade tip height of 76 metres, has been lodged by Dunbartonshire-based Lomond Energy, on behalf of John Lawrie Tillyrie Ltd.
They also want the go-ahead for access tracks, a control and metering building, a connection line to the local electricity network and associated ancillary equipment.
Lomond Energy have submitted an environmental report to Perth and Kinross Council, which predicts the development’s effects on both the local and wider environment.
The report explains: “This proposal is fairly unique in the current market in so far as it is being developed independently of an established windfarm development company or utility.
“The proposer is a local farming family which owns the entire application site and is currently developing a number of initiatives there to ensure the farm’s continued viability.
“The Tillyrie wind cluster, together with these other developments, will help underpin the future viability of the farm and will make a significant contribution to the local economy through its operation and the local employment opportunities created.”
The report predicts that about £1 million of the £4 million construction costs could be spent within the region ““ and around 30 jobs would be provided during the seven-month construction period.
Thereafter, operation and maintenance works will provide employment for two full-time engineers, plus opportunities for the local supply of services, equipment, parts and consumables.
Each of the five turbines will have a 850kW generating capacity and together will produce around 13,000 MWh of electricity per year, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of around 2700 homes.
“In turn, this would offset the annual emission of up to 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and around 170 tonnes of acid rain gases from conventional fossil fuelled power stations.”
Over the construction period, it is estimated that there will be around 1200 heavy goods vehicle journeys in total, of which 730 will be confined to stone haulage within the site.
The environmental report adds: “The key design aims of this windfarm have been to maximise its wind energy production whilst minimising any adverse environmental impacts on the site, the wider landscape and any effects on the amenity of local residents.
“This has been achieved by choosing a small number of kilowatt-scale wind turbines and setting them out in a compact cluster at a minimum distance of 800 metres from the nearest houses.”
Computer modelling techniques and field work had been used to establish the potential effects of the windfarm on the landscape and visual amenity of the area.
“Particular attention was paid to visibility from Loch Leven, nearby villages and tourist routes,” states the report.
“The assessment has shown that the windfarm will be visible mostly from the south and east ““ and its visibility is mainly restricted to within a 10 kilometres radius from the site.
“The limited visibility is very much due to the undulating nature of the local landscape and the fact that the win turbines are nestled in a shallow basin beyond the ridgeline of the eastern Ochils.
“The cumulative landscape and visual impact of the windfarm has also been assessed in relation to six other wind farm proposals within the Ochils.
“This concludes that its cumulative impact in relation to the Lochelbank proposal will be slight, whilst its cumulative impact with the other proposals is likely to be slight to moderate.”
As far as noise is concerned, the report concludes that it would be “within acceptable limits,” causing no significant adverse effect to residential amenity of the surrounding area.
The windfarm is proposed to be built, operated and decommissioned over a total period of 27 years.
The report concludes: “At the end of its life, the windfarm can easily be dismantled, leaving little trace of its previous existence and no legacy of pollution for future generations.”
By Les Stewart