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Windfarm plan near to park  

Balfron Station is the latest area to be earmarked for wind turbines.

Wind Hydrogen Ltd is proposing to develop a “windfarm” of three turbines at Loaninghead, just off the A811, hear Ballat crossroads and north-west of Balfron Station.

The company is currently consulting Stirling Council and other agencies over what research and information it will have to submit to back up its application.

Stirling Council planners said: “The proposed site is close to the national park boundary and about 6km west of the Ballindalloch Muir proposal.

“The turbines proposed are 1.5Mw power output each and would stand 100 metres high to the tip of the rotating blades – a 60 metre tower with 40 metre radius blades.

“Ancillary development would include about 1.5km of access track, a control building, a sub-station, borrow pit for construction material, a meteorological mast and a temporary construction contractors’ compound.

“As part of the Environment Impact Assessment procedure the company has submitted a ‘scoping request’ to the council with a draft scoping report.

“This enables the council, in consultation with a number of specified national agencies, to assess whether the company’s draft report demonstrates an adequate and appropriate basis to carry out the environmental assessment of the project.

“The assessment will cover all the environmental impacts that may arise if the development eventually goes ahead and will assist the council in determining the subsequent planning application.”

The controversial and highly visible 36-turbine Braes of Doune windfarm is the only one currently operational in the Stirling area.

However, a 15-turbine windfarm at Earlsburn, north of the Carron Valley reservoir, is nearing completion and a planning application has been submitted for eight turbines at Craigengelt, south of Earl’s Hill.

EIA scoping is currently being carried out for other proposed windfarms including nine-turbine Earlsburn (North) and 11-turbine Muirpark Farm. Scoping for an eight-turbine project at Kingsburn is said to be on hold.

Scoping is also being carried out for the nine-turbine Ballindalloch Muir proposal near Balfron, which has come in for heavy criticism from local campaign group EVAG.

Last week the EVAG campaigners told Stirling’s MSP of their concerns about the Ballindalloch proposal.

Bruce Crawford and Stirling Forth and Endrick ward councillor Graham Lambie met with the group in Balfron.

EVAG chairman Gordon Adams said: “It was very good of the MSP and councillor to come along and listen to the genuine concerns of people living in this area who are going to be adversely affected by this windfarm if it is allowed to be built.

“Mr Crawford and Councillor Lambie were left in no doubt that the local community does not want this windfarm so close to schools and homes.

“The politicians were told by people at the meeting that there was a great deal of concern about the misrepresentation of what the windfarm would actually look like. You can hardly see the wind turbines on the photo- montages npower has produced – you need a magnifying glass to see them properly.

“Stirling Council has to be very careful to make sure they know exactly what this windfarm would look like if it was built and the negative visual impact it would have on the countryside before they even consider giving it the go-ahead.

“The windfarm at Braes of Doune is a perfect example of this. I don’t think anyone realised how these wind turbines would look once they were built compared to the presentations submitted to the council and just how much of a negative effect it has on our landscape. Now it is too late to do anything about it.”

An npower spokesperson said: “All the visuals were produced in consultation with Scottish Natural Heritage and Stirling Council. The photomontages were created by an independent environmental company, adhering to criteria set out by outside agencies.

“npower was not involved in the Braes of Doune wind farm therefore we cannot comment on that development, however we do have a strong record in operating some of the most successful and sensitively developed wind farms in the country.”

Stirling Observer

14 September 2007

Endrick Valley Action Group (EVAG): evag.co.uk

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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