Stirling has ‘limited capacity’ for more wind turbines a new report prepared by Stirling Council has claimed
Stirling has limited capacity for more wind turbines, according to a new report.
New guidance which sets out where future turbines might be developed or ruled out is set to go out to public consultation.
Stirling Council’s housing and environment committee has agreed to put the draft revised wind energy development guidance out to an eight week consultation from early May. The outcome will be discussed in September and approval sought for a final version.
The committee heard that on an area wide level the updated picture did not vary significantly to an original study adopted by the council in March 2008, and if anything emphasised further particular sensitivities of the landscape and the importance of iconic features like Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument.
Officials said: “The overall conclusion is there remains very limited capacity for further wind energy development of varying scales within the study area if the intrinsic qualities of the landscape are to be maintained.”
They added, however, that when that picture was broken down into landscape “types” and “sub-types” it suggested there may be “some limited scope” for wind energy development – subject to the adoption of “very specific” siting and design criteria.
Several “lowland hills” areas – such as the Western Ochils, the part of the Campsie Fells in the Stirling area, and the Braes of Doune – have been identified as having no capacity.
However, the Carron Valley and rising land to the south – including Meikle Bin – are said to have low capacity for further development of up to 10 turbines between 15 to 110 metres.
The Fintry/Gargunnock and Touch Hills are also said to have low capacity for 10 turbines within the same height range. Small extensions to the established Craigengelt and Earlsburn windfarms (two to three turbines each of matching heights) may also be possible according to the report.
Higher slopes north and south of Glen Lochay, the upper section of the glen itself and a small area north of Loch Earn (Glen Beich) are identified as having no more capacity.
Wooded slopes south of Loch Tay are said to have low capacity for turbines up to 15m.
“Subject to compliance with strict siting and design criteria” the landscape of the Craig Garbh Mountain Group between Loch Tay and Loch Earn has been identified as an area of having low capacity for further development of up to 10 turbines between 15m up to 110m.
Officials said: “It is particularly important to note that, notwithstanding the capacity limits set out, by definition these limits are for advice and guidance only.
“It is, therefore, emphasised that whilst a wind energy development may comply in principle with the specified capacity limits it remains the case that a detailed assessment at the planning application stage may conclude that the proposal will have unacceptable landscape and visual impacts, including on account of adverse cumulative effects.”
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