A revised planning application for an Angus wind farm, which would vastly reduce the scale of the proposed development, has failed to silence protesters.
Development company Wind Prospect has re-applied to Angus Council for a wind farm in Montreathmont forest, which covers a large swathe of land between Montrose and Forfar.
The number of turbines wanted has been dropped from 19 to 11.
But protesters maintain the forest is utterly the wrong place for a wind farm and remain vehemently opposed to the development.
The original plan attracted more than 1000 objections and Friends of the Forest campaigners say the reasons remain the same for their opposition.
Wind Prospect development manager Colin Williams maintains the wind farm, albeit smaller than what was originally envisaged, if approved, would still make an important contribution to national and green energy targets.
It would generate, on average, as much clean and green energy as is used by over 11,800 homes—more than all the households in Brechin, Friockheim, Letham, Ferryden, Montrose and Hillside.
Alongside the environmental benefits, the wind farm would also bring economic opportunities including a local trust fund of £33,000 per annum over 25 years that would be invested in community projects.
But Friends of the Forest spokesman farmer Jim Hair, who lives close to the site earmarked for the development, says the company has reapplied for 11 turbines on virtually the same site as the original 19, with about a 33% increase in build size.
“The site has the same boundary, but the same things affect it and we have the same objections in terms of wind noise, loss in value of property as well as visual impact.
“We feel extremely concerned about Montrose Basin which is a world-renowned site for pink-footed geese and I can’t believe that developers should target this area.
“Montreathmont is on a flight path for birds, but it’s also a low lying, low wind site. There’s also a large population of red squirrels and a number of rights of way through the site that will be spoiled by construction.”
The site of the revised 22 megawatt wind farm proposal lies about 4km north of Friockheim and 5km south of Brechin.
The development would be located almost entirely within a coniferous forest plantation, with the design using existing tracks as much as possible and aiming to avoid sensitive areas as identified during environmental surveys.
Each turbine would be 80m to hub height with blades of 46m in length, giving a maximum height to blade tip of 126m.
A newsletter, describing the planning application for the wind farm, has been distributed by Wind Prospect.
“The landscape at Montreatmont has been identified as being suitable to accommodate a wind farm by Scottish Natural Heritage,” says Mr Williams.
“It is one of only two areas explicitly identified in the regional landscape character assessment for this type of development in the whole of Angus.”
By Liz Fowler
16 February 2008
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