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Another windfarm plan for ‘under siege’ Perthshire residents

Residents of a Highland Perthshire area “under siege” from wind turbines are set to have another proposal submitted for their mountains.

Developer West Coast Energy is preparing an application for up to 40 turbines just a few miles from Loch Tay.

The Crossburns windfarm, on the Urlar Estate, would be the third in a few square miles of Strathbraan wilderness.

The planned site is adjacent to the 14-turbine Calliacher cluster and very close to the sprawling Griffin development.

The scheme is at its earliest stage and locals say they are awaiting further details, but there is disquiet about the continuing pursuit of large-scale renewables projects in the area.

Residents have previously complained that they feel powerless against big business and “under siege” from the plethora of planning applications submitted.

West Coast Energy, based in north Wales, held a briefing session in Aberfeldy last week to unveil the draft plans.

Victor Clements, of Aberfeldy Community Council, said: “It will attract a lot of attention and there will definitely be people who don’t like it.

“No one has committed themselves to any view yet, but there’s no doubt it’s a really significant addition to the other windfarms there already.

“It will be very visible from the mountains and from the eastern entrance to Aberfeldy, but from most places it will be fairly well hidden.”

Griffin and Calliacher windfarms attracted mass opposition when proposed, but Mr Clements said they had been beneficial to Aberfeldy.

Their community funds have distributed thousands of pounds to local groups and causes. The Beauly to Denny power line cuts through the middle of the proposed site.

Stephen Salt, of West Coast Energy, said: “We are at a very early stage in the development process and it is important to us that local people have the opportunity to engage with us to have their say and to contribute to the shape of the plans.

“We want to build a purposeful and effective dialogue with the local community in order that local views and knowledge can be fully taken into account.

“We believe that we have identified an appropriate location for a wind farm on the estate, but we are a long way away from agreeing the final size of it, both in terms of the number of turbines and their height.

“This briefing session is the first in a series of public consultation events that we will be holding over the next 12 months, as engaging effectively with the local community is a vital part of the process.

“As the proposed Crossburns Wind Farm is likely to have an installed generating capacity of over 50 Megawatts, formal consent for the development will be required from the Scottish Government and we will shortly be submitting a report to the Energy Consents Unit of the Government to scope out the matters to be considered by the Environmental Impact Assessment process.

“This scoping process will allow statutory and non-statutory consultees to comment on our proposals and we will in due course be holding further consultation events with the local communities before the planning application is submitted.”

Strathtay councillor Barbara Vaughan said: “There is going to come a time when there is going to be nothing left in that part of the countryside as a tourist attraction and it is a beautiful part of the country.

“Unless it’s well hidden – and I’m not sure they’d wish to put them anywhere hidden or they won’t get the wind – it’s going to be incredibly intrusive.”