A windfarm on Ballindalloch Muir should not be given the go-ahead, according to a report by landscape consultants.
Stirling Council has endorsed the findings of a study called “Stirling landscape sensitivity and capacity for wind energy development”.
Councillors will now use the report to help them decide on planning applications for windfarms.
The study says there were “no areas in which potential capacity was identified for wind turbines over 110 metres high” and that the proposed windfarm at Ballindalloch Muir and other proposals including Craigengelt, Muirpark, Kingsburn and the Earlsburn extension, were individually “likely to exceed identified landscape capacity”.
The investigation was commissioned by Stirling Council, the national park authority and Scottish Natural Heritage and carried out by landscape architects, Horner and MacLennan.
The study states that the present windfarms at Braes of Doune and Earlsburn “have significant effect in their surrounding landscape, both individually and cumulatively, and most importantly this has greatly affected the area’s capacity to accommodate further wind energy development”.
It continues: “This study adopted a methodical bottom-up assessment process, whereby capacity for windfarm development was identified purely on the basis of being able to be accommodated within the landscape without its distinctive character and experience being lost.
“The subsequent findings came as quite a surprise – that there is very limited capacity for windfarm development within the Stirling area in addition to existing developments.”
Endrick Valley Action Group was set up to fight Npower’s plan to build nine 125m wind turbines at Ballindalloch, near Balfron.
Its chairman Gordon Adams said: “This vindicates what we have been saying all along: that the proposal to build these monster turbines would create a negative visual impact on our countryside.
“The experts’ assessment concluded that there was no place in our area for wind turbines over 110 metres high and the nine turbines Npower wants to build at Ballindalloch are each 125 metres high.
“When the time comes for councillors to decide on the Npower planning application for Ballindalloch I hope they take cognisance of this study, which they have wholeheartedly endorsed, and vote to refuse permission.”
A Stirling Council spokesperson declined to comment on the Ballindalloch planning application, which is expected to come before the council’s planning panel in the near future.
However, the spokesperson added: “In regard to the report, the council at its meeting on March 13 agreed to endorse the findings and adopt the study as a material consideration for the purposes of determining planning applications.”
28 March 2008
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