Green energy developers have mounted a bid to rescue a controversial plan to expand a Highland Perthshire windfarm.
The 14-turbine Calliacher development was completed at Amulree last year.
Earlier this summer, an attempt by Perth-based project leaders I&H Brown to extend the project by a further seven turbines was kicked out by councillors in the face of widespread opposition.
Perth and Kinross Council planners received 52 letters and emails from residents calling for the extension to be scrapped.
Among the main concerns raised were a potential loss of amenity and “overdevelopment” of turbines in the area.
RSPB Scotland also objected, claiming that the turbines could pose a risk to local species, particularly hen harriers and black-throated divers.
In May, members of the council’s development management committee rejected the plan.
Now, agents for I&H Brown have made a formal approach to Scottish ministers, urging them to overturn the decision and the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) is considering the company’s submission.
In an environmental statement submitted to the Scottish Government on behalf of I&H Brown, consultants argue that the project will not have a significant impact on the landscape and state that the windfarm, known as North Calliacher, would have “very limited visibility” from nearby roads and railway lines.
They also argue that none of the eight species of birds which could be harmed by the turbines would be significantly affected, either during construction or once the extension is operational.
When the proposal came before councillors in May, planning officers were criticised for appearing to suggest that Highland Perthshire was being used as a dumping ground for wind turbines.
Their report recommended that the scheme was passed in the hope that it would “allow other areas to remain free of wind energy developments”.
The claim was dismissed by Councillor Ian Campbell as “complete nonsense”.
Conservation charity the John Muir Trust had also objected to the plan.
A spokesman said: “The trust is committed to policy principles that support the current targets of the UK Government and devolved governments for greenhouse gas emissions reduction as these are the primary public policy tools directed at climate change mitigation. However, the trust does not support the construction of industrial-scale wind-energy developments on wild land, or developments that would impact adversely on wild land.”
A DPEA spokeswoman said that a decision was likely by October 31.
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