Concerns over the “unavoidable” environmental impact from constructing a controversial Highland Perthshire wind farm were raised by a prominent MSP yesterday.
Mid-Scotland and Fife member Murdo Fraser called on Greenpower, the developers of the multi-million pound Griffin Forest renewables project, to undertake strenuous efforts to minimise disruption on the area’s roads when turbine parts are being transported to the site.
Mr Fraser said hundreds of trees will shortly be felled at Griffin, near Aberfeldy, and he hopes the timber will be recycled.
The firm’s application for the 68-turbine project, which will have a generating capacity of 204 megawatts, was initially rejected by Perth and Kinross Council following a vigorous local opposition campaign.
However, the Scottish Government granted consent on appeal in January.
“With the Griffin wind farm being given the go-ahead, the people of Perthshire can expect disruption on the roads when parts of massive wind turbines will be transported to the site,” said Mr Fraser yesterday.
“This is something that cannot be avoided but I hope that the developers will do all they can to minimise disruption.”
Mr Fraser said Greenpower’s need to widen local roads to bring in the turbine parts could be another potential source of unrest, unless dealt with “diplomatically”.
“The developers may wish to call on compulsory purchasing powers to buy land along the side of roads,” he said.
“This means landowners can be made to sell their land, even if they do not agree to do so.
“I hope the local authority and the developers understand there is some ill feeling towards the Griffin wind farm and not all landowners are in favour of the development.”
Mr Fraser said Greenpower did not require a felling licence from the Forestry Commission to clear trees.
“Although I accept that hundreds of trees will be felled, I hope that the timber will be put to good use and recycled,” he said.
“It is not exactly environmentally friendly to fell hundreds of trees and then cover the landscape with concrete, but that is a consequence of the wind farm’s go ahead.
“Already the local communities have had their views ignored and the developers must now start listening to residents.
“It is bad enough that this wind farm is going ahead, the least that can happen is that the developers give full respect to people in the surrounding communities.”
By Andrew Welsh
21 March 2008
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