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Developers claim Dulater turbines are no bird threat

Tourism and wildlife in one of Scotland’s most scenic visitor locations would be unaffected by the presence of a windfarm, green energy developers have claimed.

Ecotricity has stirred up a hornet’s nest with its proposals for 17 turbines at a sensitive location in Highland Perthshire.

The chosen site has boundaries with a string of nationally and internationally important bird and plant habitats, including Loch of the Lowes and the Forest of Clunie.

Anti-windfarm campaigners have already branded the choice of site for the Dulater turbines “bizarre”, claiming it has no hope of seeing the light of day.

News of the development has also dismayed local groups, including Dunkeld and Birnam Community Council, which is fighting a slew of windfarm applications.

Gloucestershire-based Ecotricity is, however, confident its development can be accommodated in the landscape with minimum disruption and will be working hard to overcome opposition.

Spokesman Nick Osbourne said: “We have been building windfarms for 18 years and only install turbines in locations we are absolutely confident can accommodate them.

“Given the extensive assessments we have undertaken, we are very confident the site is an appropriate place for a wind park of this size.

“There is currently no evidence that windfarms have a negative effect upon tourism.

“We are confident that, particularly given its relative distance, the prospective windfarm will not have any significantly negative impact on any sites of natural significance.”

The presence of so much important bird life – including world-famous Osprey Lady – has given opponents of windfarm proliferation considerable concern.

Nearby, the 68-turbine Griffin windfarm has in the past been linked to the deaths of rare birds of prey, though RSPB Scotland has said such incidents are relatively rare.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has said it will study the Dulater windfarm plans in detail before forming an opinion but Mr Osbourne said it would have little to worry about.

“We never install windfarms where there is a significant threat to birds,” he said.

“For this site, our ecology team conducted habitat and protected species surveys over a three-year period, as well as detailed additional desk studies.

“We are confident there are no adverse risks to local bird populations.”