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Public debate on wind farm ‘crucial’—claim

Calls for a second full public inquiry into the proposed wind farm at Calliacher near Aberfeldy have been echoed by a local councillor.

Councillor Barbara Vaughan, who represents the Strathtay ward, said it was “crucial” that the case be debated in public.

She spoke out after developer I&H Brown decided to appeal against Perth and Kinross Council’s rejection of amended plans.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser insisted a new public inquiry was the only “appropriate” way in which to determine the appeal—a position strongly supported by Ms Vaughan.

“It was made quite clear by the development control committee of Perth and Kinross Council that they were against the development of the Calliacher wind farm,” the councillor told The Courier last night.

“Not surprisingly the developer has chosen to appeal the decision.”

Ms Vaughan said reliance on written submissions would “not do justice” to those campaigning against the development.

“It is crucial that this appeal is heard at a public inquiry,” she said.

“Local residents will be most directly affected by any develop- ment. Written submissions alone will not do justice to the arguments that need to be made on their behalf.

“All the evidence presented by the developer should be open to cross-examination.”

Ms Vaughan fears her constituents would be adversely affected by the proposed wind farm.

“People in Strathbraan have already had the Griffin wind farm imposed on them by the Scottish Government,” she said.

“They are rightly concerned on the adverse effects this develop- ment will have on their lives, in particular the threat to their water supplies and the development traffic using the A822 and A826.

“To add a further development at Calliacher would only extend this disruption,” Ms Vaughan added.

“Strathbraan may only be a small community but the people who live and work there deserve a public inquiry at the very least.

The original wind farm development proposed for Calliacher was rejected in 2007 following a public inquiry.

At the time the Scottish Government’s reporter indicated that it would be acceptable if reduced below 50 megawatts.

The developer subsequently came back to the council with a scaled-back proposal.

However, that plan—featuring 14 turbines rather than the original 27 —was also knocked back.

By Dave Lord

The Courier

9 July 2008