A row is brewing over plans to build a windfarm in the Carse of Gowrie.
Hamilton-based energy firm Banks Renewables want to erect an 80m wind mast to test the suitability of Bandirran Estate between Rait and Balbeggie for eight 135m wind turbines.
The application for the wind mast, announced by Banks’ development director Colin Anderson in March, has been met letters of objection from community groups and local residents.
They argue that if Perth and Kinross Council allows the mast to be built, the decision would be a precursor to granting permission for the turbines.
Rait Community Association chairwoman Mary Laurie MBE yesterday said the development would cause “irrevocable damage” to the landscape.
“The local community is appalled at the prospect our local authority possibly approving such a step which would cause irrevocable damage in this cherished unique landscape of the Carse of Gowrie,” she said.
“(This) would inevitably set a precedent for further development, as we believe that approval would swiftly be followed by the construction of eight massive turbines of a height greater than any others in Scotland.”
The Braes of the Carse Conservation Group objected on similar terms, but raised other concerns, such as the potential impact on wildlife.
Secretary Mrs Marilyn Webb said: “The Carse of Gowrie is on the RSPB map as an area of sensitive impact for bird species and therefore this site could impact on such species’ flight paths.
“There are a variety of birds with amber listed conservation status in the immediate vicinity of the test mast site.
“It is an area of great biodiversity and we would question whether sufficient research has been carried out for an informed decision to be made on the environmental impact.”
And Burrelton and District Community Council chairman Martin Payne said: “We regard the area involved to be of particular scenic and historic importance and have serious concerns.”
“In particular the fact that the further intention is to construct eight 135m wind turbines on the site, which would mean them being visible over a very wide area.
“Until such time as eight balloons are positioned at a height of 135m above the site of each of the proposed turbines we will be unable to accurately access the likely damage.”
Individual residents have also written into PKC to object to the proposals.
James Springford said: “Placed so close to the Carse of Gowrie and on the high ground of the Sidlaw range would be a blatant misslocation of these monstrosities.”
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director with Banks Renewables, said: “We fully understand there are people who are opposed to wind farms for various reasons.
“However, we find that when everything is clearly explained, most people welcome the potential offered by wind energy. A clearer understanding of wind energy is now emerging in the public mind and we believe that is why support for such projects is growing.”
Development director Colin Anderson added: “We wish to work closely with the communities surrounding the site to develop the plans for the wind farm, which could bring a host of social, economic and environmental benefits to the local area.”
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