Clackmannanshire councillors have backed plans for 13-turbine wind farm on the Ochil Hills.
Edinburgh company Wind Prospect Developments put forward the application for the new development at Burnfoot Hill, near Tillicoultry.
The council said the 102 metre high (334ft) turbines would not be visible from most of the Hillfoots towns, Alloa, Stirling and Dunblane.
More than 100 objections have been lodged against the plans.
Councillor Eddie Carrick, convener of the council’s regulatory committee, said on Wednesday: “I have been kept awake for the last few nights by thoughts of this development.
“This is a huge step for Clackmannanshire and ultimately I feel we have made the correct decision today in approving the application.”
Councillor Carrick said the wind farm at Burnfoot Hill would produce enough energy for almost 15,000 homes each year with far fewer CO2 emissions than traditional energy production methods.
However the site is situated within the Ochil Hills Area of Great Landscape Value.
Among the groups who objected to the application were Scottish Natural Heritage, Friends of the Ochils and the Ramblers Association (Scotland).
Concerns were raised about the adverse impact on the enjoyment of the Ochil Hills for hill walking and recreation due to the visual impact on views as well as the adverse impact on the amenity and landscape quality of the area.
The affect on the existing habitat and wildlife and the impact the wind farm would have on tourism were also concerns raised by objectors.
It was feared that if passed, the application would set a precedent for similar developments in beauty spots.
A 49-turbine wind farm already operates on the Ochil Hills at nearby Braes of Doune, near Dunblane.
Three other applications for wind farm developments on the Ochil are currently at the appeal stage.
A fourth, for an 18-turbine site at Greenknowes, has been approved on appeal.
All four sites, with a total of 56 turbines, are within a 13km (8 mile) radius of the latest proposal by Wind Prospect Developments.
Speaking of the latest application, Councillor Carrick said: “This type of investment in sustainable energy is perhaps the greatest gift we can leave the children of Clackmannanshire.
“While I accept that there will be an impact for some users, the benefits far outweigh these concerns. It is the needs of the many over the needs of the few we have to consider in approving this application.”
Access to the site will be decided by Perth and Kinross Council as the land falls within their boundary. A separate planning application has been lodged with them.
28 March 2007
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