Approval has been given for Stirling’s third wind farm.
On Wednesday, Stirling Council’s planning panel voted by a majority to allow the eight turbine project by Scotia Wind, for a site at Craigengelt in Carron Valley, to go ahead.
As well as the 125 metre high turbines, there is also a new access road, bridge, electricity sub-station and weather mast.
Scotia Wind operations director Dominic Farrugia said the company had consulted widely, had negotiated financial benefits with the local community and believed the application met all the planning policy criteria.
The main objector, Scottish Natural Heritage, outlined its concerns, particularly over views from Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument as a cumulative impact with the Earlsburn windfarm.
SNH representative Ross Johnstone said it supported renewable energy, but felt this particular windfarm would have an impact on local scenery. He added that, while Stirling accounted for 1.3 per cent of Scotland’s land, it already had 3.5 per cent of the country’s approved windfarm capacity.
Mr Johnstone told the panel that, from Stirling, the turbines would appear twice as tall as those on the controversial Braes of Doune site.
Council planners had recommended refusal on similar grounds.
Lib-Dem councillor David Goss said from the castle you could also see the M9, Longannet and Grangemouth, albeit in the other direction, and that he was surprised SNH was objecting to eight turbines when they had not objected to 48 at Braes of Doune.
Labour councillor Andrew Simpson said the windfarm would be six miles from the castle and the turbines would seem “like matchsticks”.
The panel voted on an amendment put forward by Lib-Dem councillor Graham Reed that the application be approved, with conditions attached plus a section 75 agreement to ensure a habitat management plan was put in place.
Five members of the panel – Jim Thomson, Graham Reed, David Goss, Alasdair MacPherson and Scott Farmer – voted for the amendment, while just two, Provost Margaret Brisley and Councillor Tony Ffinch, voted against.
Speaking after the meeting, panel chair Councillor MacPherson said: “I realise our planning officers had recommended refusal of this application but we have to keep in mind both the UK and Scottish Governments’ aspirations for renewable energy and that is why I think it is only right to approve this application with the necessary conditions to protect wildlife in the area.
“By approving the application the panel has shown it is serious about tackling climate change and this particular proposal will make a major contribution to Stirling becoming carbon neutral and I warmly welcome that.”
Seven letters of objection and 10 letters of support were received for the plans.
This will be the third windfarm to be constructed in the Stirling Council area, the first two being at Braes of Doune and Earlsburn in Carron Valley.
Scotia Wind’s Dominic Farrugia said: “We are delighted that the council has granted consent for the Craigengelt windfarm and in doing so recognised the contribution wind energy can make to combating climate change and helping Stirling achieve its carbon neutral ambitions.
“We believe Craigengelt is a high quality windfarm that has been well designed and is appropriately sited.
“We also look forward to delivering on our promise of £1.75 million in community benefits and would like to thank the community in the Carron Valley.”
21 December 2007
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