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Residents say windfarm monitoring mast has served its purpose

Balbeggie residents have criticised council plans to retain a monitoring mast to help a controversial windfarm application.

Bank Renewables’ original plan for Bandirran Windfarm, east of Balbeggie, would have seen turbines more than twice the height of the Scott Monument installed in rural Perthshire.

Last month the wind energy developer withdrew the plan and instead the Windfall Community Development Trust (WCDT) is considering taking an amended application forward to Perth and Kinross Council.

Approval for the continued use of an existing 80m high wind monitoring mast at Southtown Farm, located two miles east of Balbeggie, is expected to be granted by members of the development management committee next week.

Information obtained from the mast determines the wind available in the location.

Development quality manager Nick Brian said, in light of ongoing discussions with the WCDT, it was “desirable for the mast to remain in place to continue to collect wind data to inform any future application that they may wish to make.”

However, the continued presence of the mast has drawn angry responses from residents who are opposed to the windfarm plans.

John Bell said: “This mast was put in place to gather information for six large wind turbines a couple of years ago.

“The information must now be available or the developer would not have requested permission for the windfarm.

“The mast height is no longer relevant as the windmills are not permitted at this height.

“There is no requirement for this mast to remain in place and it should be removed asap.”

Maureen Bell said: “I consider that this application should be rejected on the basis that the mast should have already served its purpose.

“The whole planning submission has been a very stressful experience for those living nearby to the proposed windfarm monstrosity and no further consideration should be given to anything which would prolong the agony for the community who objected to the development.”

Bank Renewables believed the development would boost employment and training opportunities near the proposed site.

However, the Braes of the Carse Conservation Group had alleged that the proposed six “massive” turbines would have been “out of all proportion” to the surrounding landscape at Bandirran.

If passed by councillors, permission for the monitoring mast will be limited to two years.