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Council hit with expenses over Perthshire wind farm decision

A decision to reject a Perthshire wind farm has been overturned at appeal.

Last year, Perth and Kinross Council refused the 11 turbine wind farm near the existing Drumderg wind farm beside Alyth, on landscape and visual impact grounds.

The company behind the project which, it claims, could create enough electricity to power 19,000 homes, appealed the decision and the Scottish Government reporter has found in its favour.

Andrew Sikes determined the council had “acted in an unreasonable manner” and he also found them liable for expenses.

The site is located 2.8 miles north east of Bridge of Cally and had attracted a number of objectors including the Cairngorms National Park Authority which concluded the turbine blades and hubs would be prominent on the skyline.

The council had argued if the wind farm were allowed to be built it would have an unacceptable impact on tourism in the area.

Mr Sikes said an important factor was the need to identify a location for wind turbine developments saying: “It would make a valuable contribution to the Scottish Government’s renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.”

He noted Alyth Community Council had raised concerns regarding the impact of the development on transport infrastructure as access for heavy goods vehicles would be via Alyth.

During the construction of Drumderg, the village was often choked with heavy traffic

However, in Mr Sikes’ opinion this could be adequately dealt with by imposing conditions.

Mr Sikes concluded that “there are no material consideration which would still justify refusing to grant planning permission”.

In a separate report on expenses he said: “I conclude that the council has behaved unreasonably.

“Its report of handling contains factual errors, fails to accurately describe the assessment of the proposed development by Scottish Natural Heritage and includes an incorrect and misleading summary of that assessment.

“Importantly, the report fails to discuss the conflicting landscape advice it received and explain why it favoured that of the Cairngorms National Park Authority.”

The reporter added the council report “selectively” referred to a tourism study.

The applicants have estimated that £7 million will be injected into the local community during construction.