Turbines plan draws 200 objections; Forestry Commission and Scottish Natural Heritage among those against Argyll development
Plans for a windfarm south of Oban have attracted more than 200 objections, including from Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.
Energy company npower renewables wants to erect the 15-turbine development at Raera Forest, Kilninver, near Kilmelford.
The turbines, which would stand 410ft high, would be visible from the A816 Oban to Lochgilphead road, locations across Loch Melfort and Loch Feochan and the isle of Luing. They would also become part of the more distant views from the Scarba, Lunga and Garvellachs national scenic area.
Argyll and Bute Council planning officers, who have received 237 letters of objection and 32 in support, have recommended that the application be refused, subject to a discretionary hearing being held in light of the number of representations received.
Nigel Mitchell, chairman of Kilmelford and Kilninver Community Council, which has objected, said: “The majority of the community is against it. The main reason is visibility. It would be so prominent on the countryside. You are not going to ever miss seeing a wind turbine from every part of the community.
“The community benefits are pitiful compared to the size of these turbines. It’s just not worth it. People don’t want them. They would be on a hill in the centre of the communities of Kilninver, Balvicar and Seil. Whichever way you look you are going to be seeing wind turbines. The proposal also involves the removal of half of Raera Forest.”
SNH has stated that the coastal area does not lend itself to this type of development. And the Forestry Commission has objected because the proposal would involve the felling of 1,780acres of Sitka spruce forest.
A spokeswoman for npower said: “We carried out a full and thorough environmental assessment. The results in the comprehensive environmental assessment, submitted as part of our detailed submission to Argyll and Bute Council, demonstrate that the Raera windfarm site is an appropriately located and well-designed scheme.
“Residents should feel reassured that our proposal for Raera windfarm has been designed taking on board the concerns of the local community and statutory consultees. We believe that the windfarm design minimises its impact on the local area, and helps the Scottish Government in meeting its targets of 80% of energy production by renewable sources by 2020.”
The planning committee will consider the application at a meeting in Kilmelford Village Hall on Tuesday.
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