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Communities ‘must be listened to’ over windfarm plan  

Credit:  Mar 19 2013 by Iain Howie, Perthshire Advertiser | www.perthshireadvertiser.co.uk ~~

Scotland’s planning reporter must listen to residents’ concerns over a forthcoming wind farm appeal, says MSP Murdo Fraser.

The Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals has been called in to decide what should happen to proposals for seven turbines at Frandy Hill, near Blackford.

As revealed in The PA two weeks ago, developers Wind Prospect claims Perth and Kinross Council took too long to decide on the plans, with delays in bringing them to PKC’s development management committee – so decided to refer it to the DPEA.

We reported that the Ochil Hills scheme had drawn a mix of criticism and support, with community councils and Gleneagles Hotel among the 70 groups and individuals who responded.

Now Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser has expressed his own concerns over the appeal.

The proposed seven-turbine cluster is one of several which have raised concerns over the cumulative effect of windfarms on the environmentally-sensitive Ochils, with the neighbouring Burnfoot Hill.

Residents are worried that their concerns will be overturned by a central government that has shown an appetite for wind developments in the face of substantial levels of local opposition.

And in other energy schemes developers have successfully argued that the carbon-cutting target of Holyrood should not be seen as a glass ceiling on further developments if the reductions by 2020 are achieved.

Mr Fraser said yesterday: ““We cannot have a situation where local democracy is supplanted by the political aims of central government.

“The developers have admitted that the area is nearing saturation point and have claimed that the turbines will only be a temporary feature, lasting 25 years.

“If we read between the lines it can be understood that the developers recognise the controversy of their plans.”

He said Scottish Tory findings had revealed that only 2000 people are employed in Scotland in the onshore sector. “The Ochil Hills are one of Scotland’s most scenic places and we must keep it that way,” he added.

Source:  Mar 19 2013 by Iain Howie, Perthshire Advertiser | www.perthshireadvertiser.co.uk

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