The Government body set up to protect Scotland’s countryside has come out against a windfarm being built on Ballindalloch Muir near Balfron.
Scottish Natural Heritage has lodged an official objection to the planning application from npower renewables to build nine 125-metre high turbines.
Scottish Natural Heritage officials say their main reason for objecting is the negative visual impact the turbines would have on the landscape.
The objection letter states: “We conclude that the proposal is likely to have high adverse impacts on:
“Views and visual amenity of residents and visitors travelling westward from Stirling towards the National Park via the nationally signposted ‘gateway’ routes;
“The local views surrounding and within the development site;
“Panoramic views across the carse to distant hills;
“Views of the distinctive hill edges of the Touch/Gargunnock/Fintry hills from the north and of the summits of Trossachs and the Highland Edge from the south.
“SNH therefore objects to the proposal on landscape and visual impact grounds.
“This position is supported by the Stirling Study, which considered that the broad area of the application site would have no landscape capacity for turbines greater than 50m and, overall, to be constrained for windfarm development because turbines at this location would affect a viewer’s perception of the distinctive hill edges surrounding the carse.”
The SNH objection adds: “In our view the proposed development would be contrary to the policy context provided by National Planning Policy (including SPP6 and NPPG14) and the Development Plan (approved Structure Plan and adopted Local Plan) and that emerging from the Stirling Study.”
Endrick Valley Action Group (EVAG) was set up by concerned villagers to oppose the windfarm.
The group’s chairman Gordon Adams, from Balfron said: “We welcome this expert and independent view from Scottish Natural Heritage.
“They have come to the conclusion that the windfarm should not be allowed to go ahead after much consideration of what npower has said in its Environmental Impact Assessment and their own visit to the site of the proposed wind turbines.
“I hope the councillors on the planning panel will take account of what SNH have said along with similar views that the planning application should be refused from hundreds of other people who have also objected to the windfarm.”
Npower Rnewables has consistently denied claims about the impact the development would have, saying it has continuously followed strict guidelines and legislation and adhered to stringent criteria when drawing up the plans.
It also says it carried out extensive consultations with locals from the outset in a bid to glean an even spread of opinion over a widespread age group and demographic.
However, its plans for Ballindalloch have been dealt a series of blows of late, including objections from the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, opposition voiced by Stirling MP Anne McGuire and being among a number of windfarm proposals deemed unsuitable within a study commissioned by Stirling Council, SNH and the national park.
18 April 2008
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