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Neighbouring council strikes blow against wind turbines

Stirling Council and SEPA have formally objected to plans to site four wind turbines next to the River Forth in Alloa.

The local authority’s planning committee has written to Clackmannanshire Council to voice its opposition to developers PfR’s plans on the grounds of visual impact, the effect on rare birds and a breach of Clackmannanshire’s own planning policies.

The proposal is for the 125-metre towers to be based at Forthbank and has come in for criticism by several local groups. Over 140 comments have been posted by individuals on Clackmannanshire Council’s website with almost all fiercely against the scheme.

Stirling Council’s objection notes, “The scale, nature and location of the development are such that it will have adverse effects on the visual resource up to 10km from the development. This area includes parts of the Stirling urban area, Stirling Castle battlements and esplanade, Wallace Monument, Dumyat and parts of the Ochils.

“The height and dynamic nature of the turbines will create new, prominent features in the view, towering over most of the existing large man-made features, the presence of which is not considered adequate justification for ‘downgrading’ the effects of the turbines.”

Stirling Council also criticised the quality of images used in the Environmental Impact Assessment saying, “The visualisations are considered to significantly under-represent the likely visual impacts of the development and they need to be used with caution.”

In addition, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has lodged its opposition to the proposal to place the turbines on the former Black Devon landfill site.

SEPA say the application fails to detail how PfR would manage the gas generated by the landfill.

A SEPA spokesperson said, “The site is no longer accepting waste for disposal, but it is still producing leachate and landfill gases and is therefore still a licensed site regulated by SEPA.

“The potential for gas accumulation in the turbine foundations has also been noted and the applicant states that the potential for explosion will be assessed prior to construction.”

PfR said they were committed to an open and honest process and had engaged with the community over the past 18 months, providing people with the opportunity to discuss the plans directly.

Jerry Sturman, PfR regional manager, added, “It is understandable that any new wind farm development will receive some level of objection.

“We have spent a considerable amount of time ensuring that this project is well designed and are confident that the concerns raised in the objections have been appropriately addressed during the design process.”