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Windfarm bid takes new look  

Controversial plans for a giant windfarm development in Highland Perthshire have been amended to “avoid or reduce” its potential significant adverse effects, according to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), drawn up by the Perth company behind the project.

But up to 100 vehicle movements a day – several of them abnormal loads, needing a police escort – are likely to be generated during the six-month construction period of the scaled-down scheme.

Dunkeld Road-based I. and H. Brown want the go-ahead to erect 14 100-metre high turbines on a grouse moor at Calliacher, five kilometres south of Aberfeldy.

They had initially drawn up plans for a 46-turbine windfarm in February 2004 but reduced it to 27 because of concerns expressed by several consultees.

That project was rejected by Perth and Kinross Council and their decision was subsequently upheld after a public inquiry.

Scottish Ministers announced in September of this year that the refusal was due to “significant adverse visual effects” on Glen Quaich and Glen Freuchie.

The inquiry reporter, however, indicated that it would be acceptable for consent to be granted for a reduced 14-turbine scheme by removing those on the southern part of the site.

The EIA indicates that the proposed development would generate sufficient energy to meet the needs of almost 19,500 homes, the equivalent of 34 per cent of the households in Perth.

During construction, loads will be brought from the A9, along the A822 and the A826, and restricted road closures, possibly outwith the daytime period, will be required. Minor work will also be needed at seven locations along the minor roads.

The original design concept of the project had been amended to mitigate its effects by:

Reducing the number of turbines from 46 to 27 and now to 14.

Optimising the site lay-out to minimise the effects on landscape and visual amenity.

Careful siting of turbines away from lochs.

Avoiding the most sensitive habitats, as far as possible.

Carrying out a pre-construction survey to avoid any breeding birds.

The demarcation of a buffer zone around watercourses, with no access for construction activities or vehicles.

The scheduling of works, notification and signage to minimise disruption to access and recreation.

The scheduling of temporary road closures outwith daytime hours.

The EIA document adds: “There are two main benefits of the development for the local communities – jobs and a community fund.

“Construction of the windfarm will bring benefits to the local economy by using local suppliers and contractors and providing a small number of jobs on site.

“A community fund will also be established to support a wide range of local projects.”

I and H. Brown’s revised plans will go before a meeting of the council’s development control committee next year.

By Les Stewart

Perthshire Advertiser

21 December 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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