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Valley turbines blown out by council

Councillors have blown off plans for an 11-turbine windfarm in Carron Valley.

Stirling Council’s planning panel last week unanimously rejected the proposal from Scottish and Southern Energy Plc for the site, 1.5km west of Muirpark Farm, northeast of the existing Craigengelt windfarm.

Members had recently visited the site and council planners had recommended refusal of the application.

Among the concerns discussed by panel members were the impact on the view from Stirling Castle.

Councillor Scott Farmer also said the area was one of great landscape value and that there was no capacity for these size of turbines.

He added that he found the proposed development “unacceptable”, particularly given that the turbines would be viewed from various locations.

Issues raised during the consultation period in the run up to the decision included: conformity with planning policy and guidance; cumulative visual impact; residential amenity; noise; effect on the setting of Stirling Castle and other monuments; national air traffic control; and the effect from the turbines on the bird population.

In their report to the panel, council planners said: “The proposals would be visually dominant relative to Lewis Hill and are therefore considered to be located within an ‘Exclusion Area’, the purpose of which is to conserve the landscape character, which would be compromised.”

The planners had also highlighted the impact on the setting of Stirling Castle, plus cumulative impact with both established windfarms and undetermined applications.

SSE Renewables had said it believed the location was a good one for a windfarm of the size proposed.

Their agents had told council planners: “The windfarm offers a number of benefits and does not cause unacceptable harm to any identified environmental interest.

“Considerable efforts have been made to ensure the proposal respects the environmental constraints. The nearby consented scheme at Craigengelt demonstrates that a windfarm can be accommodated in the landscape and indded, from certain key viewpoints, the two would read as one.”

The company had said it believed concerns raised by Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage were “overstated”.