Elected members will consider the merits of a new wind power scheme for Perthshire against a backdrop of community opposition.
More than 300 residents have now objected to plans for a temporary “met mast” and then wind park at Newmiln Farm, Tibbermore.
The plans have been placed before Perth and Kinross Council for a second time, having been withdrawn earlier this year for amendments, and are the forerunner for the creation of a wind park featuring four giant turbines.
In conjunction with the landowner, Gloucestershire energy company Ecotricity hopes to build four 79 metre wind turbines near the villages of Methven, Clathy, Balgowan and Clathymore.
Prior to construction, however, the developer aims to install a temporary met mast to measure wind speeds.
Opponents had feared the withdrawal was a bit to neuter opposition – despite Ecotricity’s denials – as it forced all previous letters of objection to be disregarded.
Such was the concern about the windfarm plan, local people set up the Gask and Strathearn Protection Society (GASPS).
Its members’ concerns over opposition burnout have proved unfounded as more objections than before have been submitted to the council.
In addition to the 243 letters of objection lodged by the community first time around, a further 310 have now been sent in.
They hope their opinion will carry enough weight, with the application for a met mast set to be determined by Perth and Kinross Council next month.
GASPS chairman Brian Simpson hopes the council will see the threat posed by the plan, which he believes signals the creep of wind projects into the lowlands.
Far from being on an isolated hillside, he said the turbines would be visible from many communities on the Gask Ridge and said it should start Perth residents thinking about the encroachment of wind power upon their lives.
Mr Simpson will lead a protest against the Scottish Government’s green energy policies tomorrow, when campaigners will gather on the South Inch in Perth.
They will then march on the Concert Hall, which is hosting the SNP conference, to make sure their voices are heard during First Minister Alex Salmond’s keynote speech.
“Plans are being made for four massive industrial-sized turbines to be sited within 700 metres of the three villages of Clathy, Clathymore and Balgowan,” Mr Simpson said.
“This is a major challenge to all of us because it is now clear that the mad rush by developers and landowners to join the gravy train of subsidy means that we will see more of these plans moving from the hills to our very doorsteps.
“No village, town or city is safe from this terrible blight being foisted on us by a government driven by idealism to deliver an ill thought out policy.”
Others believe the mast and turbines will interfere with wildlife, including birds.
There are also fears the Gask Ridge, which has important Roman links, could be damaged.
Ecotricity believes the four-turbine scheme would create enough green energy each year to power more than 700 homes.
The developer also claims it would generate around £9,000 per year for the area through a community fund.
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