By Alan Richardson
Published in: The Courier
Date: 3 February 2012
A call has been made for an immediate moratorium on windfarms in the Ochil hills due to the ''cavalier, duplicitous and philistine'' approach of major power firms towards the area.
With the prospect of another 18 turbines before Perth and Kinross Council planners, Councillor Mike Barnacle has made an impassioned plea for a halt to the ''industrialisation'' of the hills.
His call comes as energy firm Wind Prospect tries to enlarge its Burnfoot windfarm, near two others which were passed by the Scottish Government against local wishes.
There are also fears about the impact of the Beauly to Denny power line which will run nearby and an application to extend quarrying rights in the Ochils.
Mr Barnacle, in a letter to the council's planning chief, Nick Brian, states: ''It is time to call a halt on further windfarm developments in the Ochil hills. If the Ochils are anything to go by, Scotland faces the prospect of major adverse impacts on its hill landscapes from the Scottish Government's misguided and short-term energy policy.''
Mr Barnacle said the existing windfarms were erected despite parts of the Ochils being areas of great landscape value. Guidance had suggested only one such complex should be built in the Ochils — if at all — and should be relatively small.
Mr Barnacle said: ''It is regrettable that the authorities, in light of subsequent developments, have not taken full cognisance of such guidance and studies.
''The Ochil hills have been unfairly targeted by a plethora of applications that show no sign of diminishing with these latest proposals.
''In terms of assessing cumulative impact of windfarm developments in the Ochils, the whole process has been handled by the authorities unsatisfactorily and my enduring concern is that this may continue.''
Under the new plans two more turbines would be installed at Burnfoot, nine turbines will form a cluster, known as Rhodders, nearby, while a seven-turbine cluster would be created on Frandy Hill.
Malcolm Best of Friends of the Ochils said: ''The cumulative impact of all these windfarms will be a disaster as far as visitors, hillgoers and local residents are concerned. The erection of these turbines tears at the heart of the Ochils.''
Wind Prospect's Sarah Dooley said: ''During the construction of Burnfoot Hill we established there was potentially scope for additional turbines in and around the area. There are other developers doing other things and there will get to a point where the Ochils reach saturation but that point hasn't been reached yet.''