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Perthshire windfarm plans scaled back over Dundee Airport impact fears  

Credit:  By Mark Mackay, 7 August 2013 | www.thecourier.co.uk ~~

Controversial windfarm proposals have been scaled back over fears they could cause chaos for aircraft using Dundee Airport.

Operators Highlands and Islands Airports (HIA) raised concerns that the giant turbines proposed for a site in Perthshire could play havoc with radar systems.

Executives are seeking a meeting with green power developers Banks Renewables, although the firm has already indicated it will reduce the proposed number of turbines from eight to six.

The structures could change the face of the landscape for a generation, rising 135 metres into the sky from a site near Balbeggie and towering above the Carse of Gowrie.

A spokesman for HIA said that, while no objection to the development had been submitted, it had highlighted safety concerns about “the potential impact on radar systems and aircraft safety”.

“We have sought a meeting with the developer to discuss the matter further and hope that a solution can be found,” he said.

“Our primary concern is that the safety of aircraft and passengers at Dundee Airport is not compromised.”

The first step towards the creation of the Bandirran Windfarm was taken at a meeting of Perth and Kinross Council in April.

Councillors gave Banks Renewables permission to construct a wind monitoring mast at Southtown Farm near Balbeggie, to assess the suitability of the site for development.

The test mast has now been installed and members of community councils, including Balbeggie and Inchture, have already undertaken site visits.

Several meetings have already taken place at which the developer outlined its vision to the communities and further public meetings are planned for September.

It is understood that the developer aims to apply for planning permission for the reduced windfarm by the start of October. Should permission be granted, construction could begin in 2016-17, with the windfarm operational by the end of 2017.

At 135 metres to blade tip, the turbines would be the tallest in Courier Country.

Banks Renewables has been regularly updating communities about the progress of the windfarm proposals and there has been praise for its efforts.

It is also proposing that the neighbouring communities themselves make an investment in the project, with up to a 5% stake – worth £1.5 million – available.

A community trust could also be set up to disburse funds, which are expected to be a minimum of £100,000 each year.

The income would be available to communities within a 10 to 15km radius of the windfarm, which might include communities such as Inchture, Abernyte and Rait and even Perth, Scone and Stanley.

Banks Group’s environment and community director Mark Dowdall told The Courier: “Involving the communities surrounding our sites is a vital part of the work we carry out to ensure that our windfarm proposals are well designed.

“We recently met with representatives of the local community councils as part of a series of joint community meetings at Scone Airport.

“These included a site visit which allowed the community councils to find out more about the design, as well as ask our landscape architect and engineers any questions they may have had.

“Since our first exhibitions held back in May, the design of the site has changed and we are now considering a six-turbine windfarm. This change is a direct result of 
comments received from local people at the public exhibitions, the many community meetings we’ve had, as well as all the technical and environmental factors that fed into the design process.

“Our original proposal for eight turbines considered all aviation issues, as will the new reduced design, ensuring turbines are at least 15km away from Dundee Airport.

“We will continue to work closely with the local communities to ensure that everyone has ample opportunity to comment on our proposal before it is considered by the development management committee at Perth and Kinross Council.”

Source:  By Mark Mackay, 7 August 2013 | 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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