Wind farm developers have been dealt a blow after Stirling’s MSP voiced “serious reservations” about plans for nine turbines at Ballindalloch near Balfron.
Bruce Crawford is not convinced that the development would not have an adverse impact on local communities despite assurances given by npower renewables.
The company, which submitted a formal application to Stirling Council last week, has already been strenuously fending off claims by local group EVAG (Endrick Valley Action Group).
Mr Crawford said: “I am a supporter of wind farms as they provide a clean, renewable source of energy that is environmentally friendly and contribute to achieving the ambitious targets set by the Scottish Government to reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint.
“However, wind farms must be sited in appropriate locations that do not diminish an area’s scenic character.
“I have met already with the developer and local community representatives about this matter, and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal.
“I have real concerns about whether the Ballindalloch proposal is the right place for such a development.
“The size of the proposed wind turbines is huge, meaning they will have a substantial impact on the skyline within the national park.
“The scale of the turbines proposed for this development, combined with the latest study on the cumulative impact of wind farms on the unique Stirlingshire landscape, must be fully evaluated.
“Having considered this matter carefully, I therefore have serious reservations about whether the proposed development is appropriate.”
EVAG claimed this week the proposed Ballindalloch Muir wind farm goes against Government guidelines because it is too close to Balfron.
The campaigners say planning guidelines state a wind farm of that size should be more than two kilometres away from the edge of cities, towns and villages but that houses and part of Balfron High are closer than that.
EVAG chairman Gordon Adams said: “This is just one of many valid reasons why the wind farm application should be rejected.
“The guidelines in the document Scottish Planning Policy 6 state that windfarms like the one planned for Ballindalloch Muir ‘are not permitted if they would have a significant long term detrimental impact on the amenity of people living nearby’.
“And the guidelines continue: ‘PAN 45 (Planning Advice Note) confirms that development up to two kilometres is likely to be a prominent feature in an open landscape.
“I and hundreds of other concerned residents would urge Stirling Council to refuse permission for the windfarm on the basis of the negative visual impact on the landscape; the threat to the local environment and wildlife and the effect of noise and disturbance from the windfarm.”
According to the Scottish Government’s website, however, the guideline PAN45 may not be quite so cut and dried.
It states: “The Scottish Ministers would support this (2km) as a separation distance between turbines and the edge of cities, towns and villages so long as policies recognise that this approach is being adopted solely as a mechanism for steering proposals to broad areas of search and, within this distance, proposals will continue to be judged on a case-by-case basis.”
18 January 2008
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