An SNP MSP has expressed concern about the visual impact of wind farm developments in his constituency.
Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford said it was vital new developments did not “diminish an area’s scenic character”.
His comments come despite the Scottish Government’s much publicised support for wind-generated energy.
Stirling Council has given the go-ahead for three wind farm projects across the local area. A forth is currently being considered.
At present the district hosts a prominent 36-turbine wind farm at Braes of Doune and an almost completed 15-turbine development at Earlsburn.
Plans have also been approved for an eight-turbine farm at Craigengelt in the Carron Valley.
Npower renewables submitted plans last week for a nine-turbine development at Ballindalloch Muir, near Balfron in rural Stirlingshire.
In response, some locals have left the energy company in no doubt about the plan’s unpopularity by setting up the Endrick Valley Action Group.
Following a meeting with the group and the developer, Mr Crawford, who is also the minister for parliamentary business, said: “The size of the proposed wind turbines is huge, meaning they will have a substantial impact on the skyline within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
“There is also significant potential for noise disturbance of the nearby Balfron community, particularly the schools.
“Wind farms must be sited in appropriate locations that do not diminish an area’s scenic character.”
Mr Crawford added that he was a supporter of wind farms and their ability to generate “clean, renewable” sources of energy and said they were vital to meet the targets set by the Scottish Government to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
In response to the criticism, a spokeswoman for Npower renewables questioned Mr Crawford’s familiarity with a recent study into the impact of the development.
She said: “It is disappointing that Bruce Crawford has made this statement which does not reflect the conclusions of the environmental studies into the Ballindalloch Wind Farm.
“It is our opinion and one shared by independent consultants that Ballindalloch Wind Farm is a good site which could play an important part in Scotland’s energy future.”
17 January 2008
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