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Future of Glenfarg wind farm uncertain  

Credit:  By Kathryn Anderson | Daily Record | 12 APR 2019 | www.dailyrecord.co.uk ~~

A renewable energy consultancy group behind a plan to increase the height of four proposed wind turbines in Glenfarg has said there is now uncertainty over the future of a proposed wind farm.

Green Cat had wanted an alteration to the four consented turbines with 68-metre wind hub heights that Element Power was previously granted planning permission for at the Binn Ecopark Wind Farm back in 2015 – against PKC officers’ advice.

Councillors this time sided with officers and rejected the proposal.

Speaking to the PA after the meeting, Graham Donnachie of Green Cat admitted there was now uncertainty over the wind farm.

He said: “We are really not sure what to do. We will let the dust settle and then regroup next week and find a strategy for progressing.

“The Scottish Government wants us to move towards renewable energy but in order to do this we need to use the most efficient technology – and that needs to be taller turbines.”

Mr Donnachie at the meeting had argued the increase in the height of the turbines was “slight” and would generate five per cent more energy.

Mr Donnachie also told the meeting the increase in height would allow the turbines to be able to generate electricity from lower wind speeds.

Environmental Health said that they did not object to the application, provided that a series of conditions were applied to control noise.

PKC planning officers, however, again rejected this latest proposal on the same grounds of it having a “significant adverse visual and landscape” impact.

And at the meeting on Wednesday, John Campbell QC, an expert in planning cases, addressed the council chamber on behalf of 23 residents from seven households living within three kilometres of the turbines, including a neighbouring castle.

He said the proposed turbines would be about twice the height of the National Wallace Monument in Stirling.

However, a spokesperson for Binn Eco Group said that it would bring environmental benefits as they currently generate all their power by diesel.

They added that the company employed 160 people and would look to employ an additional 100 people over the next 10 years.

The Binn spokesperson argued: “For the wind farm here to be viable, additional height is needed.”

However, independent councillor Mike Barnacle, who forwarded the officers’ report and backed the turbines originally due to economic benefits, this time said: “I do not think the increase in height is justified.”

Other councillors also spoke out against the plan, with Cllr Ian James branding the turbines “monstrosities”.

However, committee convener, Cllr Roz McCall, put forward an amendment for the wind farm to be approved and was backed by Cllr Coates.

Seven councillors, from across the political divide, voted to refuse the higher wind turbines, while five voted in favour of the updated application.

Cllr Richard Watters was the only Kinross-shire councillor on the committee to vote in favour of the turbines, conceding that he “found this one really, really difficult”.

Following the meeting, local resident Christine Convy, whose property is within 500 metres of the wind farm said: “I am absolutely delighted. It has come at great expense.”

During the meeting, it emerged nearby residents were offered financial compensation under the previous application but not this time round.

Cllr Henry Anderson, who had backed the turbines four years ago but voted against them this time around, said after the meeting: “It caused a lot of angst in the community.

“People might be put off visiting the area.”

Source:  By Kathryn Anderson | Daily Record | 12 APR 2019 | www.dailyrecord.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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