Scotland’s nature agency is standing in the way of insurance giant Aviva gaining consent to erect a 77 metre high wind turbine in Perth on its second attempt.
Scottish Ministers overruled local councillors who granted Aviva permission to position a turbine at Pitheavlis on appeal two years ago after Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said the development would have “a significant adverse impact” on the setting of the company’s A-listed office buildings.
The insurer sent Perth and Kinross Council a revised planning application earlier this year seeking permission to erect the turbine on land 200 metres away from the listed buildings on land east of a former sports centre to avoid another clash with HES over the proposal.
The company told PKC in a design statement completed in February this year that despite having already made “significant investment” at Pitheavlis to produce all its electricity from renewable technologies such as solar panels, only 27 per cent of its current demand is met by these energy sources.
The statement went on: “The installation of a single 1MW wind turbine could potentially provide enough electricity to power over 75 per cent of Aviva’s site, taking the site to net zero in terms of electricity.
“Wind energy is the only technology that can provide the level of renewable energy generation required to reach net zero on the Perth site.”
The statement added: “The relocation of the turbine will substantially reduce the extent to which the wind turbine will ‘fracture the skyline’ over the main building.
“The only location from which the wind turbine will be visible over the main building will be in glimpsed oblique views from the north west.”
HES has since advised PKC it has decided not to object to Aviva’s second planning application being granted consent after reviewing the updated information.
However NatureScot has now told PKC it considers the company’s latest chosen location for the proposed turbine a “poor” one that would “likely” lead it to become “an uncharacteristic and prominent feature” on the landscape resulting in “a major change to views in and across the Perth area”.
The government agency said in its comments on the proposal: “It would be a new, large-scale element in important views towards and across the city and moving blades would exacerbate this effect.
“We advise that it would be a distinctive feature that would draw the viewer’s eye and it would likely become a major orientating feature in the area.
“This includes important parts of the city which are used for recreation where the scenic qualities of the city are enjoyed such as the North and South Inches.
“While we appreciate trees and buildings may restrict views from some locations, the development will be readily seen and appear in a prominent location on the skyline drawing the eye and detracting from and impacting upon the attractive townscape of Perth city.
“The prominence of the turbine and the scale of the impacts are largely down to the proposed location being elevated above much of the city.
“Our advice is this is a poor location for a wind turbine and alternative locations on the edge of the city, at lower elevations, would substantially mitigate many of these landscape and visual impacts.”
The application is now currently awaiting a decision from PKC planners.
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