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‘Anger’ at turbines bid  

Credit:  By Alan Richardson, The Courier, 9 June 2012 ~~

A bid to build 120- metre wind turbines near Perth has been greeted with “shock and alarm” by locals.

Gloucestershire firm Ecotricity is preparing plans for its Newmiln Wind Park proposal five miles west of Perth, close to Methven.

It claims the four-turbine scheme will create enough green energy to power 7,000 homes and will create a fund pumping more than £9,000 per year into the local area through a community fund.

The claims have failed to find favour with residents, despite a drop-in session held by the prospective developers.

James England, whose event management company Blue Sky Experiences has an international clientele, said: “There was incomprehension and then real anger among those who came to the drop-in event.

“How can anyone think that this, one of the most beautiful, unspoilt rolling valleys in lowland Perthshire, is the right place to site such a massive industrial installation?”

Tourism operator David Smythe of Gloag Farm Cottages said: “Our unique selling point is our rural, unspoilt landscape.

“Industrial turbines visible for tens of miles will put off significant numbers of tourists and I am sure the Newmiln windfarm will harm the local economy.

“I’m afraid it will cause a lot of grief as it goes through the planning process and will end up splitting the community.”

Other locals were concerned they had not been informed of the drop-in session, with the new Balgowan settlement a kilometre from the site left out altogether.

Methven resident Alyson Joyce said: “Ecotricty blamed the post office for leaving them off the list of addresses they had sent to Ecotricity and promised to send a written apology to every householder who had missed out.

“But you have to ask how much the developer really cares or knows about the area if he hasn’t even noticed that there is such a significant settlement so close to where he wants to put turbines.”

The proposal has attracted the attention of anti-windfarm group Communities Against Turbines Scotland.

Committee member Graham Lang said: “It’s not a ‘wind park’ with ‘windmills’ but an industrial-scale power station with wind turbines almost 400 feet in height. It will blight properties and landscapes for miles around.

“Although the proposal has barely got off the ground, the anguish in what is a close-knit community of farmers is already self-evident.”

A windfarm proposal for nearby Muthill was seen off after massive public opposition last year.

West Coast Energy’s eight-turbine proposal for Standingfauld Farm was knocked back by a Scottish Government reporter because of the effects it could have on landscape seen from the prestigious Gleneagles Hotel and GWest development.

Spokesman for Ecotricity Nick Osbourne said: “The drop-in session at Methven was very constructive, with attendees voicing their support as well as those who were against the idea of a windfarm.

“However, the proposal is at an early stage and that’s why we hold these drop-in sessions, so that we can collect and use local feedback as we continue to assess the site.

“The appearance of wind turbines in the landscape is of course a subjective issue but regular polls demonstrate that the majority of people in the UK support them and our planning process does include an extremely comprehensive landscape assessment in consultation with Scottish Natural Heritage and Perth and Kinross Council.

“The Scottish Tourism Alliance too has been very clear that there is no evidence of any negative impact on tourism but we do also take local tourism into account in our assessments.

“However, this is only the first stage of our consultation and we are keen to answer any queries that people may still have after the drop-in session.

“Likewise, while I can confirm that we did send newsletters to the 62 properties in the Balgowan development, if people do feel they have been missed, we urge them to get in touch with us directly.”

Source:  By Alan Richardson, The Courier, 9 June 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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