Protesters are pushing for Clackmannanshire Council to defer a decision on a controversial windfarm until the end of a public inquiry covering nearby turbine plans.
A combined push by concerned groups is asking Scottish ministers to intervene on a planning decision for Burnfoot Hill which is due to be taken by Wee County councillors on March 28.
They say any decision should be put off until the public inquiry surrounding four other wind farms on the Ochils – the same range as Burnfoot Hill – is completed.
The inquiry is currently hearing the cumulative impact of the four windfarm plans, which, combined with an already-approved windfarm near Glendevon, would cover the Ochils in windfarms, say the protesters.
Thirteen turbines have been earmarked for Burnfoot Hill by developers Wind Prospect. The site lies above Tillicoultry, about half-way between there and Blackford in Perthshire. The four wind farms which are the subject of the inquiry are to the east of the Glendevon development.
The Friends of the Ochils group and the Ramblers’ Association are behind the plea to Communities Minister Rhona Brankin.
Davie Black, Wildland Campaigner for the Ramblers’ Association Scotland said: “My concern is that Clackmannanshire Council may approve Burnfoot without any knowledge of the outcome of the four public inquiries being held at present in Perth. How can they make a proper assessment of the cumulative visual impacts against one or more windfarms without understanding the landscape arguments currently being discussed at the Inquiry?
“We are asking the communities minister to directly intervene in this matter, and direct Clackmannanshire Council to delay determining the Burnfoot proposal until we hear the result of the public inquiries. This will then allow Clackmannanshire councillors to make a decision on Burnfoot Hill based on all the evidence of the impacts across the whole Ochil landscape.”
Stuart Dean, vice-chair of the Friends of the Ochils said: “Without the Minister exercising some control over the timing of the Burnfoot Hill planning application, we could be sleepwalking to a disaster in the Ochils. One approved windfarm is one too many but three, four or more would spell the end of the Ochils as a beautiful range of hills that draws hundreds of thousand of visitors annually.”
The Burnfoot Hill wind farm was first made public in 2005. Clackmannanshire Council has held discussions and asked for views from neighbouring authorities, including Stirling and Perth and Kinross. In May last year, Stirling Council said it did not oppose the plans as only homes about 12 miles away would see the tips of the blades. Councillors in Perthshire asked for more time to consider the development, although they also suggested the Scottish Executive call it in.
16 March 2007
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