The open sea would be a more appropriate site for wind farms rather than the Ochil Hills, according to one of the groups objecting to current proposals.
“In view of the plethora of wind farm proposals, we urge the new parliament to seriously consider offshore wind farms in preference to onshore, especially in view of the increased operational efficiency of offshore wind turbines,” said Alison Grave, secretary of the Windfarms Awareness Group. “Monster turbines over 300 feet high should be offshore not in hills such as the Ochils.”
She was speaking in the wake of the culmination of months of public inquiries into the four current wind farm proposals in the Ochils.
At the inquiry in Salutation Hotel, Perth, which has now concluded, Scottish Executive reporter Karen Heywood heard summing up from community groups, Scottish Natural Heritage, Perth and Kinross Council and the appellants.
The Windfarms Awareness Group, the Mellock Hill Action Group and Friends of the Ochils, which included Friends of Rural Kinross-shire and the Ramblers, had attended site specific sessions and the cumulative session.
Ms Heywood heard from SNH and the council that now Burnfoot Hill wind farm on the Clackmannanshire and Perth border and Greenknowes wind farm above Glendevon had been approved, the Ochils, in their view, had reached capacity for wind farm development.
Perth and Kinross Council and SNH recommended all four wind farm proposals be rejected by the reporter, as to do otherwise would turn the Ochils into a wind farm-dominated range. Stuart Dean, vice-chairman of the Friends of the Ochils, agreed, saying, “I am fearful that the Ochils are being turned from a beautiful, accessible range of hills, enjoyed by thousands, into a wind farm landscape.
“Two wind farms in the Ochils, at Green Knowes and Burnfoot Hill, have already received planning approval and any more would be a disaster. It is vital that none of the four appealed schemes of Little Law, Snowgoat Glen, Mellock Hill and Lochelbank are given approval by the reporter.”
During the inquiry, Graham Esson of Perth and Kinross Council gave an overview of why the council had rejected the proposals.
“There will be an unacceptable impact on the wider landscape and local amenity that is not balanced by the employment or carbon- saving benefits accrued from any of the developments,” said Mr Esson.
He said the council had decided the proposals would adversely affect the landscape character of Perth and Kinross and that there would be a significant detriment to individual and community residential amenity from visual impacts.
The outcome of the inquiries is likely to be announced in the summer.
By Richard Burdge
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