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Bid to rescue controversial Green Burn wind farm

A green energy company has launched a bid to rescue plans for its controversial Perthshire wind farm.

Proposals for the 11-turbine Green Burn project, on land at Shiedrum Farm, between Alyth and Bridge of Cally, were rejected by councillors in March.

More than 150 residents and groups objected to the development, which would see turbines of more than 377ft tall – bigger than Big Ben – installed next to the existing 16-turbine Drumberg site.

Now project leaders ABO Wind have appealed to the Scottish Government, urging ministers to overturn the council’s ruling.

The company’s head of development Clark Crosbie said: “We were extremely disappointed by the decision of the council’s planning committee.

“We have reviewed the decision in detail and we remain of the view that our proposal complies with all relevant technical and planning requirements.”

He said: “We believe strongly that Green Burn Wind Farm is an appropriately designed wind farm, located within an area the council has formally identified as having capacity for a wind farm actually larger than our Green Burn proposals.”

Mr Crosbie added: “We were especially disappointed with the planner’s recommendation to refuse on landscape and visual impact grounds, when neither SNH, the Scottish Government’s landscape adviser, nor the council’s own independent landscape adviser, recommended an objection.”

The John Muir Trust conservation charity said it had “serious concerns” about the proposal.

Policy officer John Low pointed out there could be a potential of 65 turbines in the area around Green Burn.

Mount Blair Community Council 
secretary Alison Petrie said an increase in turbines would turn the area into an industrial site.

“Providers of tourist accommodation are concerned about their occupancy rates,” she said in her statement to planning officers.

“With one hand, we as a community try to develop business and encourage tourism, but developers from outwith the area bring a project that will kill any efforts we work hard to develop.”

At March’s meeting, then councillor Bob Ellis, who co-founded the famous Cateran Trail, spoke in favour of the development.

He said he did not believe claims that windfarms deterred visitors from coming to Perthshire.

And he said the financial benefits of the scheme to the local community – around £165,000 – were considerable.

Councillors voted eight to four to reject the plan.

The Scottish Government’s appeals division said a decision is likely to be taken in September.