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Campaigners battle to save 'national treasure'  

Anti-windfarm campaigners claim revised plans for a giant turbine development would despoil a “national treasure,” – Perthshire’s scenic countryside.

Amulree and Strathbraan Windfarm Action Group (ASWAG) pledged to continue their fight against Perth company I. and H. Brown proposals to erect 14, 100-metre high turbines at Calliacher, five kilometres south of Aberfeldy.

The planning bid has been scaled down from initial proposals for 46 turbines. That was reduced to 27.

That project was refused planning consent by Perth and Kinross Council and their decision was upheld following an appeal.

But the public inquiry reporter indicated it would be acceptable for consent for 14 turbines by removing those planned for the southern part of the site.

Jill Wilson, the chairperson of ASWAG, described the Perthshire landscape as “priceless – and beyond compare.”

And she added: “We are all custodians of our land. We all have the privilege to enjoy it, to gaze upon it and spend our time in it. Its future is in our hands.

“We can choose to sacrifice our landscape for the financial benefit of power companies, or to salve our consciences by covering it in turbines and concrete so we can save the planet.

“Or we can choose to remember that forests and deep peat have been absorbing carbon for thousands of years and will continue to do so if left undisturbed by bulldozers and concrete.

“In Indonesia, the rain forest is being destroyed to grow palm oil for bio-diesel. Deep peat and blanket bog is the Scottish equivalent of tropical rain forest and is also irreplaceable once it has been destroyed.

“Heather moorlands in the UK comprise approximately 75 per cent of the entire world’s resource.

“The landscape of Perthshire is held dear by its people, not just by those that are fortunate to live or work in it but by the many hundreds of thousands of visitors that come to our beautiful country.”

There are currently three windfarm proposals in the heart of Perthshire – Griffin, Logielamond and Calliachar.

“If approved, they will total 100 turbines – and there will be few places left in Highland Perthshire you could visit that you would not see one or more wind farms.

“Is this the legacy we will leave to future generations?”

Griffin and Calliachar were the subject of a public inquiry more than a year ago and the decisions of Scottish Ministers are still awaited.

The Logiealmond planning bid was recently submitted to Perth and Kinross Council to decide its fate.

“Developers can continue to apply for as many windfarm proposals as they choose, whereever they choose. And if they are rejected they can keep re-applying by amending their application,” added ASWAG.

“This scenario could continue forever unless the government changes its present policy or reduces its subsidies to the power companies.

“Meantime, windfarm developers condemn councils and local communities for objecting to proposals. We have a democratic right in this country to do so.

“It seems that we may be the last line of defence in protecting the landscape and rare birds that we all hold so dear.

“These three windfarm proposals are not in a designated or protected area – but they are on the edge of and can be viewed from and will impact upon designated national scenic areas, special areas of conservation and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

“It is well documented that this area is home to many rare and protected birds and wildlife. It is an area of hill lochs, clean rivers, stunning scenery and wild, unspoilt hills and glens.

“If it were possible to award an area protection from industrial developments, based on the passion and love that so many people have for it, then this area of Highland Perthshire including Glenquaich, the high hill road to Kenmore with views across to Ben Lawers and Shiehallion, Strathbraan and Logiealmond would be awarded the highest accolade.

“Until such time its future is in our hands. You still have time to object to Calliachar by writing to Perth and Kinross Council by January 25 or visit www.aswag.org.uk

By Les Stewart

Perthshire Advertiser

28 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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