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Windfarm warning from MSP

Strathearn residents have been warned that plans to erect a windfarm in hills north of Crieff could have a “dire impact” upon tourism and business.

The community has been involved in consultation with Force 9 Energy and Abercairney Estates who have been driving forward plans for the Mull Hill site.

There have been numerous public meetings, with the most recent attended by more than 100 people and strong opinions were expressed for and against the development.

Afterwards Mid Scotland and Fife Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said it is vital to fully consult the community.

However he expressed concerns about the Mull Hill project, outlining his opposition.

Mr Fraser said: “I welcome the consultation process that the wind developer has been undertaking with the local community and it is important that the developer listens to local views and concerns.

“I am against the proposed application for Mull Hill wind farm application for nine turbines, which will be approximately 4km north-east of Crieff, as it will cause irreversible damage to the local environment and damage our tourism industry.

“VisitScotland’s recent Visitor Survey 2011 results found that the top reason for visitors coming to Scotland is to see its scenery and landscape.”

The first Mull Hill application was submitted in 2003 with a view to building 24 wind turbines.

Perth and Kinross Council rejected that proposal and it was blocked again in 2005, this time by the Scottish Government following a public inquiry.

The latest proposal would see nine turbines built off the A822 north of Crieff, at the gateway to the Sma’ Glen.

The developers claim the windfarm would deliver up to 22.5MW per year, which could power 11,300 homes.

A community fund would also be set up which could put more than £1.1m into the community over the project’s 25-year lifetime.

Force 9 Energy has claimed significant local support for the project.

At the latest local meeting development manager Andrew Smith made efforts to explain the need for windfarms and the merits of the Mull Hill plans.