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Windfarm firm says it welcomes new wildcat surveys

Developers behind a proposed 14-turbine windfarm on the borders of Angus and Perthshire say they “welcome the opportunity” to review whether wildcats live in the area.

At the weekend,The Courier published footage of protected species near the Saddle Hill development north of Kilry.

Along with raptors, the animals are enshrined in national guidance, forbidding the development of windfarms near sensitive sites.

Conservationists believe there are only 35 wildcats remaining in Scotland.

The proposed Saddle Hill windfarm – almost three miles north-west of Kilry – would comprise up to 14 turbines (2MW) with a height of 377ft.

Campaigners believe the footage, shot by Ben Sutcliffe at nearby Cray House, could be enough to scupper Wind Prospect Developments Ltd’s plans.

The firm, on behalf of EDF Energy Renewables, has submitted a planning application to both Angus Council and Perth and Kinross Council.

It says its initial investigations and those of consultee Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) had not revealed the animal’s presence.

Project manager Rory Carmichael said: “As part of our investigations into the site, a number of environmental field surveys were carried out and the results were submitted alongside the planning application for the project.

“These surveys found no evidence of wildcat activity at the proposed site.

“In addition, feedback from consultees on the scope of our investigations did not highlight the area as being a possible designated hotspot for wildcats.

“However, we would welcome the opportunity to review further details of this recent sighting, or other evidence of wildcats in the area.

“We have also written to SNH to say we would welcome the inclusion of additional, pre-construction surveys for wildcat and other protected species, should the scheme be given planning consent.

“If any wildcats are found to be regularly using the site, we would develop a Habitat Management Plan, which would include measures that would be beneficial for wildcats.”