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Wind farm plans prompt protests  

Walkers opposed to a wind farm development in the Ochil Hills are set to take part in a protest hike.

The campaigners are angry at plans to site a 13-turbine wind farm on Burnfoot Hill, near Tillicoultry.

Clackmannanshire Council backed the project put forward by Edinburgh company Wind Prospect Developments in March.

The council said the 102m high (334ft) turbines would not be visible from most surrounding towns.

The initial plans proved controversial after it emerged the wind farm was to be situated within the Ochil Hills Area of Great Landscape Value.

Among the groups who objected to the original application were Scottish Natural Heritage, Friends of the Ochils and the Ramblers Association (Scotland).

Sunday’s protest is being organised by Dollar journalist and mountaineer Peter Evans and Tillicoultry businessman Norman Thomson.

Mr Evans, a member of the conservation group Friends of the Ochils, disputed the local authority’s claims about the visibility and impact of the project.

He said: “This wind farm will introduce an industrial-scale development into a very peaceful and beautiful part of the Ochils above Upper Glendevon Reservoir.

“With each turbine reaching around 180ft, they will be visible from every high vantage point in the Ochils, including Ben Cleuch, the highest top, which is visited by around 2,000 walkers every year.

“This decision by councillors, who have probably never set foot on an Ochils summit, will desecrate a lovely area of this very popular hill range and be a blight on our landscape for the next 25 years and beyond.”

In March, Clackmannanshire Councillor Eddie Carrick, convener of the authority’s regulatory committee, insisted the wind farm was important to the area.

He 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.”

Campaigners will attend a protest meeting at the Devonvale Hall in Tillicoultry from 1000 BST which will be followed by a hill walk up nearby Ben Cleuch.

BBC News

2 June 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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