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Perthshire turbine access plans "ill-conceived"

The construction of a huge wind farm in Perthshire will pose major safety risks, a community council has claimed.

generic turbine

Developers claim that the wind farm will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 560,000 tonnes.

  • By Dave Lord
  • Published in the Courier : 17.05.10
  • Published online : 17.05.10 @ 03.59pm
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The £200 million, 68-turbine Griffin facility is set to become the third largest wind farm in Scotland.

However, proposed changes to access routes during construction are causing controversy.

Dunkeld and Birnam Community Council has hit out, days after officials from environmental watchdog the John Muir Trust expressed concern.

The community council insists that new proposals for road widening and bridge replacement on the Inver road could devastate the area.

Chairwoman Nan Johnston claimed residents had not been properly consulted.

She said, "Inver, Dunkeld and Birnam are in the middle of a national scenic area and the Tay special area of conservation.

"It is our understanding that a developer should consult with local groups and individuals prior to submitting an application, yet SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy Renewables) has had very limited consultation with the local community."

Ms Johnston said that there were serious safety concerns.

She said, "The proposed 'improvements' have the potential to increase the traffic on this road considerably, not only during construction, but in the longer term.

"There would also be increased noise emission to the adjacent village of Inver and in particular Inver Mill Caravan Park, potentially reducing demand for this site."

Impact on tourism

She added, "SSE Renewables' proposal is to widen and straighten the road, using concrete walls to replace wooded slopes — this is hardly sensitive to the local scenic environment.

"Also the increased use of this road will pose safety risks to walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders, who all enjoy the current quiet nature of this area."

The community council insists that alternative routes "are available."

Ms Johnston said, "The intensified use would have a major impact on an important recreational amenity used by locals and visitors alike, and would therefore be significantly detrimental to the economy of the Dunkeld area."

Meanwhile Alison Bryden, proprietor of the Inver Mill Caravan Park, said she was "very concerned" about the planning application.

She said, "Noise and safety concerns are a real issue, but the economic impact could have a devastating effect on the wider Dunkeld area."

Ms Bryden said that thousands of pounds could be lost to the area's lifeblood tourism industry every day.

SSE insisted potential access routes had been carefully planned and insisted they had acted "responsibly."

A spokesman also said potential disruption had been taken into account and pointed out Perth and Kinross Council could ultimately assess the merits of rival routes.

The Griffin wind farm will have the capacity to generate 204 megawatts of power, and the developers claim it will cut carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by 560,000 tonnes.

Click for more on these topics:

People: Nan Johnston, Alison Bryden | Organisations: Inver Mill Caravan Park, Dunkeld and Birnam Community Council, John Muir Trust, Scottish and Southern Energy Renewables, Perth and Kinross Council | Places: Birnam, Inver, Perthshire, Dunkeld, Inver road | Concepts: Special area of conservation, Griffin turbines, Access, Wind turbine, Proposals, Green energy, Tourism, Wind farm, Environment, Planning application


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