Residents opposed to turbine project

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A STORM is brewing in Milnathort over plans to erect three wind turbines on a local beauty spot.

An application has been lodged with Perth and Kinross Council by Milnathort Community Wind Cluster Ltd., a joint venture between Lomond Energy, Milnathort Future Trust and farmers John Lawrie (Tillyrie) Ltd.

They want to erect the 74-foot turbines at Tillyrie Hill in the Ochils, which they say will generate some £24,000 a year for the next 25 years to pay for environmental projects and help relieve fuel poverty in the local community.

But the plans have met with fierce opposition from some locals, with more than 100 objections lodged, including one from Milnathort Community Council and another from local MSP Liz Smith.

Opponents’ main concerns are in relation to the impact the turbines would have on the surrounding countryside, which is designated as an Area of Great Landscape Value, and the effect on people living in nearby hamlets.

Applications for turbines on the site have been turned down twice before – once in November 2005 and again in February 2008.

On the last occasion, the application was for five turbines and the Council’s decision was upheld by a Scottish Government Reporter following an appeal.

The Reporter’s view was that the cluster would have an adverse impact on several local communties, while he had concerns about the ‘piecemeal’ development of wind turbines in the Ochils.

However, Milnathort Future Trust, which was formed in 2010 and currently has around 30 members, says the project would have genuine benefits for the community, provide employment for local people and help tackle climate change.

The Trust would distribute the income generated to fund energy-efficiency projects and flood protection measures, as well as helping to alleviate fuel poverty.