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Aberfeldy residents vow to fight windfarm plans  

Credit:  Alan Richardson | 14 February 2013 | The Courier | www.thecourier.co.uk ~~

Highland Perthshire residents are to mobilise against the latest windfarm developer to target their wild landscape.

West Coast Energy has provoked fury by suggesting it builds up to 40 turbines on land a few miles to the south of Loch Tay.

The Crosshills windfarm on Urlar Estate would be directly adjacent to the 14-turbine Calliacher cluster and very close to the sprawling Griffin development.

Residents around Aberfeldy claim they have had enough of speculative applications which could dominate the previously untouched mountains.

Retired businesswoman Sally Crystal said she and like-minded neighbours and friends will protest against the latest proposal.

She said: “Many of us felt we had to accommodate Griffin and Calliacher as long as they were sensitively placed.

“We were aware of the good that the community windfarm funds would bring to an area like Aberfeldy because it does not attract a lot of community investment.

“We felt we could accommodate two but those who didn’t object then are now up in arms because they have to stop. We are beginning to feel that there is nothing we can do against these big businesses – no one is listening.

“We need to campaign to get the politicians to do what they should have done in the first place and that is to think again.

“This is a very important tourist destination for Scotland and it is being decimated by windmills.”

Sally set up the renowned Tombuie Smokehouse with husband, Donald – a lifelong resident of the area – before retiring six years ago.

She said the replacement Beauly-to-Denny power line built to accommodate the extra power generated by renewable schemes running through the area could tempt even more developers.

She said: “We must be careful that the close proximity of the Beauly-to-Denny power line does not encourage a free-for-all approach for applications.

“In the past we have managed to protect this area from speculative applications which would have done untold damage to tourism. I cannot stand by and watch it all happen again in the name of green energy.

“There will be no way to block this from Schiehallion and it may be seen from Queen’s View and certainly Drummond Hill – vital viewpoints.

“As well as being clearly seen for miles, it will also reduce, yet again, right of access to the public, as is already happening at current windfarms.”

The group has written to local politicians, which it claims have been deaf to their recent pleas.

Sally said: “The SNP Government must be aware of the legacy their windfarm policies are creating and the growing public concern and opposition to them.

“Many believe that individuals/companies are making excessive profits at the expense of the taxpayer and the argument that we are saving the environment wears very thin when we are told that our energy bills will rise significantly as a result.”

The Crosshills windfarm is at a very early stage of the planning process and West Coast Energy says it will not commit to a set number of turbines until a full public consultation process is complete.

The company’s Stephen Salt said: “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 windfarm 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.”

Source:  Alan Richardson | 14 February 2013 | The Courier | www.thecourier.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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