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Turbine efficiency doubts as Muthill wind farm rejected  

Credit:  By Sandra Gray, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 14 April 2011 ~~

Despite please from the applicant, proposals for a wind farm near Muthill were unanimously refused by councillors.

Perth and Kinross Council’s development control committee was urged to ignore the recommendation of the report by Matthew Hayes of West Coast Energy.

He highlighted the benefits the eight-turbine development at Standingfauld Farm would bring to meeting the Scottish Government’s latest targets for renewable energy.

Mr Hayes acknowledged concerns about noise levels and visual impact, telling the committee that a certain amount of both is to be expected.

He said, “The wind farm will lead to some visual impact. The benefits outweigh the local effects.”

At full capacity, he claimed that the wind farm would produce 20MW of electricity – enough to power up to 11000 homes. However councillors saw discrepancies in Mr Hayes’ claims, with Councillor Ian Campbell questioning the turbines’ efficiency.

He said, “In actual fact, the efficiency of these things is about 20% so it would only churn out about 4MW.”

Undeterred, Mr Hayes told the committee that opinion has always been divided on wind farms, with some people calling them as an “intrusion” while others see them as “a symbol of hope for the future.”

This was demonstrated by local opinion when the plans were published, with 208 letters of support received, with 291 of objection.

Supporters said the wind farm would bring economic and environmental benefits, is a positive example of farm diversification and was of acceptable visual impact.

One of the economic benefits was a community trust fund, which would receive an annual income for the life of the wind farm, which West Coast Energy claimed could reach £1m. Objectors maintained it would be detrimental to tourism, business and wildlife, and damage a peat bog.

A joint deputation was made by Ian Kelly on behalf of the Standingfauld Environmental Action Group (SEAG) and Iain Gotts from G West.

Mr Kelly described a blimp flight to assess the visual effects of the wind farm, claiming that it would be clearly seen on any television broadcast of the Ryder Cup in 2014.

As a result, he said that SEAG has liaised with the Gleneagles Hotel and both groups would support the council at any appeals pending refusal.

Meanwhile, Mr Gotts told the committee that, as the G West development is only 2km from the proposed wind farm, it would affect the view from a hotel due to be built on the site and have a “significant” adverse impact on the resort’s character.

Councillor John Kellas recommended the application for refusal under the terms given in the report. These were that the proposal would negatively impact landscape character and visual amenity, as well as views from strategic transport routes.

His motion was seconded by Councillor Bob Band and, with no amendments made, the report was refused.

Source:  By Sandra Gray, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 14 April 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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