A major campaign was launched today to prevent an ancient hill fort immortalised in Shakespeare’s Macbeth being threatened by Perthshire’s tallest wind farm.
The owners of the Bandirran Estate and green energy company Banks Renewables have submitted a joint application to develop a “community” wind project near Balbeggie and close to the historic fort on Dunsinane Hill, celebrated in the Bard’s “Scottish play”.
The developers are planning to erect six turbines, each up to 132 metres high, and capable of generating more than 20 megawatts of electricity.
The development has sparked an outcry among residents and anti wind farm campaigners, who it will overshadow the scenic Sidlaw Hills in Perthshire and the hill fort made famous when, in the early 1600s, William Shakespeare wrote: “Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him”.
The Braes of the Carse Conservation Group has launched a Save our Sidlaws campaign, aimed at blocking the development.
Marilyn Webb, the group’s secretary, said: “Six massive wind turbines are proposed for the initial development. These would be over twice the height of the Scott Monument in Edinburgh, bigger than Big Ben [clock tower] and out of all proportion to the surrounding landscape.
“They will be visible from Birnam Wood and large parts of central eastern Scotland – the Three Witches never predicted this one.”
She claimed: “The unspoilt views of this historic landscape from Macbeth’s Castle, and from other parts of the Sidlaw range, will be blighted forever if Perth & Kinross Council, backed by the Scottish Government, gives the go-ahead.
“Dunsinane Hill is known as one of Perthshire’s most charismatic hill forts. It is bursting with history and atmosphere and makes for a superb short walk.”
Banks has guaranteed £2.5 million of community funding during the 25-year operating period of the turbines.
Brian Kaye, who runs the family-owned 5000-acre Bandirran Estate, said: “The development of a wind farm at Bandirran is vital to the estate’s long-term sustainability. In fact, it would put us in a completely different economic position.
“We’d be able to embark on significant and long-term investment on the estate itself, including buildings, landscape and environmental improvement and business initiatives. These local projects and initiatives will, in turn, support local families by using local companies, employing local labour and bringing money into the local economy.
“At the same time, they will enhance the environment in which we sit and help to increase access to this marvellous countryside for the people who live here.”
Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “We are absolutely committed to working with the estate and local people to create a wind farm that makes the widest positive contribution in terms of the community, environment and local economy.”
He added: “We’ve appreciated the willingness of many local people to get involved in helping shape the project. Now the challenge is for the communities to come together to make the most of this unique opportunity.”
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