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Large windfarms ‘unlikely’ in area

The stunning landscape surrounding Loch Lomond is “unlikely” to be touched by developers hoping to build large scale windfarms.

The news – which will be welcomed by a number of campaign groups throughout the area – comes after Reporters appointed by Scottish Ministers set out their proposals for building across the National Park.

The plan outlines how land should be made available in key sites for tourism development, new housing and transport development whilst protecting the natural landscape and heritage of the National Park and helping communities thrive.

Crucially it was decided that there is a need to support small scale wind and hydro energy schemes, but that anything on a larger scale would likely have a negative impact on the landscape and would therefore be unlikely to be supported.

Simon Lewis, director of the Friends of Loch Lomond and Trossachs conservation charity, said: “Common sense is a great thing and I think it’s started to come into play with the windfarm issue.

“Although they’re not saying there won’t be any it’s a lot better than what it was. It’s only sensible in the National Park, everyone loves the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs area. It’s not as if there isn’t lot of other areas to put them in Scotland.

“We would have liked them to say large scale windfarms, the 50-100m, ones are simply not allowed. It doesn’t say that but it does say more than it did before.”

In order to come to their decision, government Reporters held two hearings in Gartocharn and Callander to review concerns raised in relation to general housing strategy and policy and to specific development sites in Callander.

These sessions allowed those who had made submissions during the consultation period to expand on their concerns. Their conclusions have now been made and despite some minor ammendments being made they broadly agreed with the National Park’s Draft Plan proposals with no new development sites being identified.

Owen McKee, chairman of the National Park Planning Committee, speaking about the endorsement from Scottish Government, said: “We welcome the comments and recommendations made by the reporters and are pleased they agree that it strikes the right balance between encouraging sensitive development in the National Park whilst protecting the precious landscape that makes Loch Lomond and The Trossachs so special.

“Reporters have also agreed that most development, particularly for tourism and more affordable housing will be directed to our bigger settlements which include Callander, Drymen and Balloch. This report is an important step forward in introducing clear guidance on the sort of developments that are acceptable in a National Park.”

The National Park Board will now consider the recommendations at the next meeting in October but the Reporter’s decision is likely to be welcomed and mean that the land is sensitively developed and mean that a range of policies will be used to guide planning decisions.

The Report outlining all recommendations and conclusions is available on the National Park website www.lochlomond-trossachs.org or from National Park Offices and local libraries.