Plans for 14 giant turbines at Little Law, near Auchterarder, can be accommodated at the location “without unacceptable cumulative landscape and visual effects.”
That’s the conclusion of Kenneth Halliday, director of landscape planning with Stephenson Halliday, independent environmental planning and landscape architecture consultants.
He was giving evidence in support of plans by Green Power (International) Ltd. at the ongoing public inquiry in the Salutation Hotel, Perth.
The 112-metre-high turbines should be regarded as acceptable in landscape and visual terms, he said.
But he added: “An alternative reduced height option, with an overall height of 102 metres to blade tip, has been proposed should the Reporter feel that a reduced hub height is required for consistency with the (already approved) Green Knowes project.
“This comprises turbines with a reduced hub height of 60 metres ““ the same height as Green Knowes ““ with a rotor diameter of 84 metres, giving an overall height to blade tip of 102 metres.
“Site specific” public inquiries have already been held for Snowgoat Glen, near Dunning (NPower Renewables Ltd, 10 turbines); Mellock Hill, near Crook of Devon (RDC Scotland Ltd, 14 turbines); Lochelbank, near Glenfarg (NPower Renewables Ltd, 12 turbines); and the Little Law project.
The potential cumulative visual and landscape impacts of the four projects are now being examined at a “conjoined” inquiry in the Salutation Hotel.
Mr Halliday added: “My assessment leads me to conclude the Little Law project should be considered acceptable in landscape and visual terms in combination with Lochelbank and Mellock Hill.
“In my opinion, any combination including Snowgoat Glen would be unacceptable given the noticeable difference in lay-out composition between the two projects.”
Mr Halliday took issue with one of the reasons Perth and Kinross Council gave for rejecting the Little Law scheme.
The authority said it contravened Policy Guideline 3 which states: ‘A commercial or community windfarm, cluster or turbine, when located within 40km of another, is unlikely to be acceptable where it has not been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the council that the cumulative landscape or visual impact will be slight or not significant.’
Mr Halliday added: “No justification for the stated 40km separation between windfarms is given and this contradicts Scottish Natural Heritage guidance.”
Mr Halliday said he had considered the compatibility in design between Green Knowes/Little Law in combination with other proposals and concluded that in all cases, with the exception of Snowgoat Glen, that this would not result in the potential for visual confusion.
“I have identified concerns and inconsistencies relating to landscape and visual aspects of the policy guidelines as set out in the SPG and the over-restrictive nature of this policy guidance has been highlighted in a number of appeal decisions, including Green Knowes, Abercairny and Drumderg. Even if weight were given to these guidelines, I am satisfied the Little Law site generally accords with this guidance.”
Mr Halliday concluded: “Having examined the guidance set out in the Perth and Kinross Wind Energy Policy and Guidance, I consider that the proposed development and certain combinations of it with other proposals can be accommodated at this location without unacceptable cumulative landscape and visual effects.
“I respectfully request that the Reporter allows this appeal.”
The inquiry continues.
16 March 2007
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