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New windfarm bid scrutiny  

Moves appear to be under way to create another windfarm in Stirling, this time near Thornhill.

Arcus Renewable Energy Consulting Ltd has asked Stirling Council for a “screening opinion” as to whether a proposed development of eight turbines proposed for Daldorn should be subject to an environmental impact assessment (EIA) .

The company, acting for Bolsterstone Plc, wants to know if the proposal needs the EIA rather than being dealt with simply as a planning application supported by a more limited environmental statement.

The proposed turbines would be 125 metres high to blade tip and set out in a single line over a distance of around three kilometres along a low ridge between Thornhill and the Teith valley.

Council planners said: “The proposal falls clearly within a basic threshold for consideration. The council therefore only has to take a view as to whether the proposal, if sited at the location chosen, is likely to give rise to environmental impacts of sufficient significance that they should be subjected to the level of pre-application scrutiny that an EIA involves.

“In this case it is considered there are significant environmental sensitivities, with the potential for adverse impacts to arise, and therefore also a need to consider whether alternative approaches to the development might be preferable.

“The EIA process is designed to allow for the consideration of alternatives.”

The main areas likely to be investigated, say the planners, would include visual impact (including cumulative effect with other Stirling windfarms), community impact on Thornhill and proximity to rural residential properties, proximity to the national park and nature conservation.

They added: “Part of the site may drain to the River Teith, which is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

“The site is in the core area for the re-established Red Kite population, there may be interference with the flight paths of significant goose populations given the location of the proposed site relative to goose feeding and roosting areas, and there may be other European protected species present such as bats, as well as other species protected by national legislation such as the red squirrel.

“Given the rural location of the site, relatively remote from the main road network, there are also likely to be traffic and access considerations, particularly for construction traffic, and these will have environmental impacts that need to be assessed.

“We would recommend that, given the range of potential environmental impacts, the council does seek a full EIA in relation to this development proposal.”

Stirling Council recently granted planning permission for Stirling’s third windfarm – an eight turbine development by Scotia Wind at Craigengelt in Carron Valley. There are already two operational windfarms, at Braes of Doune and at Earlsburn near Fintry.

According to Scottish Natural Heritage, Stirling already accounts for 3.5 per cent of Scotland’s approved windfarm capacity despite only representing 1.3 per cent of its land.

Stirling Observer

4 January 2008

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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