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‘It makes a mockery of the planning process’ — anger at bid to increase height of Calliacher windfarm turbines

A leading environmental watchdog has slammed plans to increase the height of turbines at a controversial Perthshire windfarm.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has appealed to heighten the blades at Calliacher windfarm by Aberfeldy by 10%, to 110 metres.

The project has already been the subject of a bitter battle between residents and the developers as it was rejected by Perth and Kinross Council before being given the green light following a public inquiry.

Before construction has even started, the company has returned to council planners to change the scheme, claiming it will make it more efficient.

Wild land conservation charity the John Muir Trust has backed objectors, stating the 14 turbines, along with the neighbouring 68-turbine Griffin development and the massive pylons forming the Beauly to Denny power line, will be visible from areas of wild land such as the summit of Schiehallion.

Helen McDade of the John Muir Trust said: “A 10% increase in height translates to a 28% increase in the area covered by the blades. This means the turbines will be even more prominent in the landscape.

“There is a major risk that Highland Perthshire will become known not for its beautiful natural landscapes but as an industrialised area that people who wish to experience the peace of nature rush through to get further north in search of wild places.

“If SSE can come back after the whole planning process, including a public local inquiry, and significantly change their plans before a sod is turned with no real scrutiny, it makes a mockery of the planning process. For this reason alone, the application should be turned down.”

SSE community liaison officer Noel Cummins said: “The larger rotor results in a larger swept area and therefore a greater wind energy capture and conversion into energy, meaning for the same wind resource a larger rotor is more productive.”