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Wind plant delays anger; Community uproar over wind mast

Uncertainty and delays over plans for a wind power development near Perth are hurting householders and crippling the local economy, it has been claimed.

Residents are becoming increasingly concerned after an application for a windfarm weather mast was withdrawn at the 11th hour for a second time.

They must now wait until the new year for any decision to be made and even then their wait will not be at an end as the mast’s purpose is to pave the way for a cluster of wind turbines on a site near the villages of Methven, Clathy, Balgowan and Clathymore.

The saga has now dragged on for many months and those campaigning against the development in all its stages believe the area is beginning to suffer.

Brian Simpson, chairman of Gask and Strathearn Protection Society, said house sales in particular were suffering due to the threat of a four-turbine development.

Perth and Kinross Council planners have already recommended that elected members grant permission for the meteorological mast for an 18-month period.

They, nonetheless, removed the application from the agenda at the latest meeting of Perth and Kinross Council’s development management committee after asking for more time to gather information.

It been previously been withdrawn by Gloucestershire-based green energy firm Ecotricity after a larger and more accurate mast became available.

The latest delay was a blow to the developer, which is working in partnership with a local landowner.

The community, however, has other concerns, as Mr Simpson explained.

“It is likely to be well into the new year now before this plan comes back to committee,” he said. “This most recent delay may eventually come to be welcomed if it is for technical reasons that will result in the mast being turned down.

“In the meantime, however, this development remains the cause of ongoing upset in this community.

“It is not simply a case of whether there will be a windfarm or not. We are being forced to go through a lengthy period of uncertainty, where residents are wondering whether they can sell their houses.”

Mr Simpson added that one of his main concerns was maintaining the profile of the opposition campaign and ensuring that there is no community “burnout”.

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesman said objections already made will stand when the paper comes back before the committee in 2013. More than 350 objections have been lodged against the mast with Perth and Kinross Council.

Ecotricity hopes that the mast will prove the suitability of the site for wind power generation, enabling it to press ahead with plans for four turbines.