Controversial plans to erect nine wind turbines by Crieff have been blown away.
Developer Force 9 Energy’s proposal for the Mull Hill Wind Farm, on Abercairney Estate, was knocked back by members of Perth and Kinross Council’s development management committee on Wednesday.
In front of a packed public gallery, local resident Maureen Beaumont flagged-up watchdog Scottish Natural Heritage’s outright objection to the proposal, something described as “highly unusual” in the chamber.
Andrew Smith – a professional planner with 12 years’ wind farm experience – questioned the PKC report that recommended refusal.
He told councillors: “To turn our back on this would be to turn our back on the competitive advantage offered by power generated by wind farms. I believe there are substantial benefits from this scheme.”
When Mr Smith mentioned conserving energy resources, Cllr Ian Campbell shot back: “You’re talking about a duty to protect scarce resources, but what about the Scottish landscape – that’s a scarce recourse isn’t it?”
Daniel Parker, of Abercairney Estate, stressed the importance of potential income. He said money generated from having the scheme on the estate could be used to bring ‘dilapidated’ stables at Abercairney back into use as a desirable wedding venue.
After two other speakers had voiced concerns about the application, committee convener Tom Gray declared: “It’s appalling to think that an estate of such long-standing in the area would be happy to change the landscape to reinstate some falling down stables.
“ If the estate needs income there are other ways. Plenty of farmers, for a start, would be happy to take on the estate farms.
“Just because you let your stables fall down, it’s not right to be melting down the nation’s silver to get them rebuilt.”
Committee member John Kellas added: “I cannot think of a worse scenario than rising out of Gilmerton and just as you expect the Highland landscape to unfold, coming across these turbines.”