Objectors to the creation of a windfarm in rural Perthshire were celebrating yesterday after the controversial application was rejected.
Members of Perth and Kinross Council’s development control committee ruled that West Coast Energy’s proposals for Standingfauld Farm, Muthill, were contrary to the development plan and would have an unacceptable impact on landscape quality and visual amenity.
Councillors heard the eight-turbines – each hub 65m tall with a blade tip height of 100m – would have a cumulative generating capacity of 20 megawatts.
Nick Brian, PKC’s development quality manager recommended the committee reject the application and explained there would “certainly be a negative effect on the local economy” and “there were no sufficient measures which could be taken to mitigate the visual impact of the wind turbines on the site”.
The committee were also informed 208 letters had been received in support of the project and 291 objecting.
Supporters highlighted potential economic benefits locally, positive farm diversification, environmental benefits and acceptable visual impact.
Meanwhile opponents claimed it would be detrimental to tourism and local businesses, there would be potential health effects, visual harm, detriment to wildlife and increased noise pollution.
A representative from G-West International, the company developing a luxury resort with hotel and golf course at Blackford, told councillors that backing the proposal would completely undermine PKC’s support of G-West.
He said: “From two or three storeys up in our hotel the wind turbines would be extremely visually prominent.
“If this is approved it could seriously damage its economic potential.”
Objector Ian Kelly voiced concerns on behalf of the Standingfauld Environmental Action Group (SEAG) and Gleneagles Hotel.
“It has taken a long time for this application to come before the committee and, for local groups such as SEAG that wait can be a stressful process,” he said.
“However, you now have a clear recommendation that accords with the objection from SEAG and the objection from Scottish National Heritage.
“There are no material considerations that would outweigh the conclusions of the development plan.
“We urge you to accept that advice and refuse this application.
“Both SEAG and the Gleneagles Hotel would look to support the council at any subsequent appeal.”
Acknowledging concerns over noise levels and the visual impact, applicants’ spokesman Matthew Hayes insisted the “benefits would outweigh the local effects”.
However, he failed to sway the committee and the bid was unanimously refused.
Councillor John Kellas said: “There is insufficient evidence to support the approval of the application.
“There is no reason to go against the professional advice we have heard.”
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