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Call for windfarm restitution

Residents living along the construction route for the Calliacher windfarm should be compensated for the effect it is having on their lives, a local councillor has claimed.

Councillor Barbara Vaughan reacted angrily to news that Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) will spread the £160,000 community benefit fund from the scheme among projects across Perth and Kinross.

SSE said half of the cash will go to the communities immediately around the 14-turbine scheme at Amulree, with the rest placed in a regional fund.

The decision has been greeted with derision by some locals and Mrs Vaughan said those affected by the heavy traffic from the A9 to the construction site – already suffering from the Griffin windfarm nearby – will be particularly unimpressed.

The Conservative Strathtay member said: “The announcement… is disappointing to say the least.

“It is important that everyone realises that this largesse is not paid for by SSE but by a subsidy every one of us is obliged to pay in our electricity bills.

“This hits the elderly and those on low incomes the hardest. In the present economic climate the Scottish Government could do well to consider ensuring that compensation is paid to those directly affected by windfarms and that electricity bills are not increased to chase goals that are unlikely to be achieved.

“Strathbraan is a very robust community. There are many thriving small businesses heavily reliant on tourism for their existence.

“They are the people who suffered very considerable inconvenience from the building of the Griffin windfarm and will suffer again from the construction of Calliacher.”

Locals claim their homes and businesses were blighted by the regular movements of materials and wind turbine components along the narrow A822 during the construction of Griffin last year.

Similar plans are in place for the forthcoming Calliacher development.

“The traffic management scheme proposed by SSE for Calliacher again makes this route the one that will bear an unacceptable load of traffic,” Mrs Vaughan added.

“They will again suffer the same difficulties for businesses, school runs and the normal elements of life such as shopping and arranging medical appointments.

“What has been missed in the whole of this sorry saga is that these people have to put up with the difficulties associated with abnormal loads, many HGVS travelling up and down the Strath every day and wood lorries taking timber away from the site.

“Strathbraan residents have not, and will not, receive one penny in compensation.

“Tourism in this area relies heavily on people valuing the rugged scenery of the mountains and valleys.

“Increasingly, questions are being asked as to whether spoiling this by building windfarms is a price worth paying for a form of renewable energy that is unreliable and inconsistent.