Despite the controversy surrounding it, a wind farm near Auchterarder should be given the green light as it would provide power for more than 20,000 households and dozens of jobs, it has been claimed.
Perth and Kinross Council rejected proposals for the 14-turbine farm at Little Law in the Ochils following a flood of objections from locals–but a public inquiry at the Glenfarg Hotel was yesterday told the grounds for refusal were flawed.
Planning expert David Bell, national director with Jones Lang LaSalle, insists the Little Law application–submitted by GreenPower–should be granted as Scotland strives to meet tough renewable energy targets.
He poured scorn on the local authority’s decision to refuse the application, insisting it is “appropriate” in planning terms.
He also criticised the council for failing to embrace the opportunity to increase “green” energy production locally.
“The site at Little Law is effective,” Mr Bell told the inquiry.
“Once planning permission is granted, there are no infrastructure issues that would preclude the development progressing.
“It would make a direct contribution to achieving renewable energy generation targets in Scotland, thereby implementing the policy of Scottish ministers which is to encourage more electricity generation from renewable sources.”
Mr Bell said the wind farm would create a significant amount of power.
“The wind farm would generate sufficient electricity to meet the needs of a total of approximately 20,400 households,” he claimed.
“It would also make a contribution to the local economy in terms of direct and in- direct employment generation.
“The proposed development would generate approximately 35 to 40 jobs during construction and a modest number during the operational period.”
Mr Bell denied there would be any significant effect on tourism locally and stressed the need to tackle climate change through renewable energy creation.
“The importance of pursuing the climate change issue to which the UK Government and the Scottish ministers are firmly committed cannot be disputed,” Mr Bell commented.
“The policy of Scottish ministers is, in my view, quite clearly to encourage the development of renewable energy sources.
“Perth and Kinross Council has not been facilitating this.
“It is important that developments which are acceptable in planning terms be granted planning permission,” he continued.
“The proposed development has been brought forward by GreenPower as a direct response to UK and Scottish national planning policies on climate change and renewable energy.”
By Dave Lord
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