Plans for a Perthshire wind farm have been blown off course by the Scottish Executive.
The proposal for five huge wind turbines at Tillyrie Hill, four kilometres north-west of Milnathort, was scrutinised by the Scottish Executive and then rejected.
Michael Shiel, acting on behalf of the Executive, conducted a public inquiry in Kinross last year and after listening to details for and against the wind farm proposals he reported: “I find the proposal not to be environmentally acceptable.”
John Lawrie Tillyrie Ltd wanted the go-ahead for a ‘wind cluster’ of five 70-metre-tall turbines near Tillyrie Hill, four kilometres north-west of Milnathort.
The Tillyrie proposals prompted hundreds of residents to put pen to paper, with feelings split in support and in opposition to the development.
Those opposed to the scheme raised concerns which include the impact on the environment, tourism, wildlife and landscape quality, as well as the cumulative impact when considered with other wind farm projects already approved in the area.
Scottish Natural Heritage feared a small proportion of the area’s famous goose population could fall foul of the wind farm and predicted dozens of geese could collide with the turbines each year.
While supporters of the scheme highlighted the principle of renewable energy, farm diversification and claim there would be no adverse impact on the environment or loss of amenity.
But it was Mr Shiel had the final say and he felt the five turbines could devastate the scenic value of the hill-lined basin surrounding Loch Leven.
Mr Shiel explained: “The Tillyrie wind cluster would be close to the south-eastern edge of the hills, overlooking the Loch Leven basin.
“I consider that this juxtaposition creates a particularly sensitive landscape setting into which this development would represent an unacceptable visual intrusion.”
And continued: “I accept that the turbines would be set back from the break of slope at the edge of the hills, helping to diminish their impact to some extent, but I consider that they would still represent an intrusion on a sensitive skyline.”
Summing up his findings he deemed the plans conflicted with overall plans to develop Perth and Kinross.
Mr Shiel reported: “I conclude that the proposed wind cluster at Tillyrie would be contrary to the provisions of the development plan, and that there are no material considerations of sufficient weight to warrant determining this appeal other than in accordance with those provisions.
“I have taken account of all the other matters raised but find none that outweighs the considerations on which my decision is based.”
His decision is final.
By Jenny Wood
4 April 2008