November 22, 2012

New plans submitted for windfarm on Tillyrie Hill

By Mark Mackay | The Courier | 21 November 2012 |

A planning application for the proposed Milnathort Community Wind Cluster has finally been lodged with Perth and Kinross Council, triggering a new public consultation.

It comes as the community partner behind the project, the Milnathort Future Trust (MFT), meets this week in a bid to expand its membership.

The controversial plan would see three 800kW wind turbines erected on Tillyrie Hill, some three kilometres northwest of Milnathort.

Each of the turbines would rise to 74 metres and would reportedly generate enough wattage to power the equivalent of 1,300 homes.

The project is being developed through a partnership between MFT, Lomond Energy and the Thomson family, who own the site for the project at Tillyrie Hill.

There have been numerous previous attempts to create a wind-power development on the site, only for each to be opposed and rejected.

The most recent – for five turbines, each 76 metres in height – went to a full public inquiry before it was finally refused.

Turbine plans for the site have now been resurrected by the partnership and a series of public exhibitions were held over the summer as part of a pre-application consultation.

A further open meeting was to have been held last month, only to be cancelled, but MFT will now hold that event in the Orwell Church Hall in Milnathort on Thursday at 7.30pm.

It will focus on expanding membership and laying out plans for the trust’s work, with its aims focused upon tackling local flooding, energy and fuel poverty problems.

Consultation on the application, led by Perth and Kinross Council, will last until December 18, and a decision is expected on the plan in spring 2013.

David Sands, an MFT director, said: ”We are delighted that after many months of preparation and consultation a final project is now ready for Perth and Kinross Council to scrutinise.

”If local people share our vision for a modest wind project that will fund community initiatives for decades to come, then we call on them to come out and support the application as it goes through planning.

”Our meeting on Thursday will be an opportunity for the wider community to get involved in Milnathort Future Trust and be part of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.”

The trust would receive a guaranteed minimum income of £24,000 annually from the turbines and, in the longer term, MFT hopes that it will aid projects such as the regeneration of the Milnathort Hall.

There has been some significant local opposition to plans for the Tillyrie Hill site, with some questioning the ”community” claim of the developers, but the trust hopes that their plans will find favour.

A spokesman said the proposal addressed previous concerns by ”reducing the number of turbines from five to three” and took its cue from ”a local need to generate much needed funding for community projects”.

Plans for the creation of a similar scheme at Newburgh were blocked by a Fife Council committee earlier this year.

Councillors suggested that Newburgh Community Trust’s plan to erect three 100-metre turbines in the Ochil Hills, south of the Tay Estuary, would set a dangerous precedent.

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