Strathearn cannot take any more windfarms without being changed forever, Scottish Natural Heritage said.
In a consultation document sent to Perth and Kinross Council about the proposed nine-turbine Mull Hill installation, the body responsible for protecting Scotland’s landscape called time on the proliferation of windfarms in the area, as well as objecting to Mull Hill.
SNH said: “We consider that this area of Perth and Kinross does not have the capacity to accept another windfarm development without the intrinsic landscape and visual characteristics of the area being significantly changed.”
The national body made the comment in respect of the cumulative impact the planning application would have on Strathearn, creating the appearance that the area is “encircled” by wind farms.
Although groups like SNH have objected to individual applications, this is one of the first times an organisation has sent such a stark warning.
Anti-windfarm protestor Maureen Beaumont, chair of the Sma’ Glen Protection Group 2, welcomed the statement, as well as the organisation’s opposition to the Mull Hill development.
She said: “We are delighted to read the response from Scottish Natural Heritage.
“We feel that our opposition to this particular planning application has been absolutely vindicated by this objection, submitted by Scotland’s most important guardian of landscape.
“We are heartened by their unequivocal objection to this application, which is even more adamant than their objection to the previous application of 2004.
“SNH has echoed our conviction that the Sma’ Glen experience does indeed begin just north of Gilmerton and also our opinion that the impact on the iconic views from the Knock of Crieff were underestimated by the developer.
“They also state that the proposal is contrary to national planning policy and that the design of the proposal is contrary to their guidelines for landscape fit. We have maintained all along that this is an inappropriate and ill-chosen site for an industrial development.
“The statement by SNH that they consider it ‘unlikely that, given the context of the proposal, its detrimental impacts can be avoided, reduced or mitigated to a level where we would remove our objection’ gives us great confidence that the planners and elected members of Perth and Kinross will adopt the stance of SNH and RSPB and reject this application and, should there be an appeal, that the Scottish ministers would be of the same opinion.
“Then surely, once and for all, this proposal would be finally consigned to history and we can all be allowed to retain what we and our visitors value so much: our very special part of Perthshire.”
Bill Thomson of the Standingfauld Environmental Action Group, which successfully campaigned against an eight-turbine windfarm between Auchterarder and Muthill, said: “That is positive news from SNH and indeed is the correct conclusion.
“As has been pointed out, if Mull Hill were allowed to go ahead turbines would be highly visible from well south of Stirling continuously to well beyond Aberfeldy.
“There simply has to be a limit put on these applications.”
SNH’s submission continues by arguing that there is a “national interest in safeguarding and enhancing” Scotland’s scenery at a regional level.
The planning application is currently with the local authority planners awaiting a decision.