By Jamie Buchan

Opponents of a massive Highland Perthshire wind farm have set out their
case to the public.

Conservation charity the John Muir Trust has held an exhibition on the
planned Crossburns development near Aberfeldy.

Renewables firm Engie, previously known as West Coast Energy, wants to
install 25 turbines, each up to 377ft high, next to the existing Calliacher
wind farm.

The scheme has been criticised by Perth and Kinross Council which claims it
could have an “unacceptable and adverse” impact on Loch Rannoch and Tummel
Bridge.

The Scottish Government will host a public inquiry in November to decide
the project’s fate.

Objectors and developers will get the chance to put their arguments across
at a hearing in Aberfeldy town hall.

In preparation, the John Muir Trust has hosted public exhibitions in
Dunkeld and Aberfeldy, outlining their main objections.

Visitors got the chance to read through paperwork on the proposed wind farm
and put any questions to John Muir Trust members.

In his letter of objection to Perth and Kinross Council, the trust’s policy
officer John Low said: “We are seriously concerned about the cumulative
impact of the proposed development.

“Scottish Natural Heritage’s own guidance on cumulative impact states that
two wind farms ‘need not to be intervisible’ to have an impact. The John
Muir Trust believes that the Crossburns wind farm would have significant
and detrimental effect both in terms of combined visibility and sequential
impact.”

He argued that it would “contribute to the further degradation of this
landscape, resulting in negative socio-economic impact”.

Developers said the plans could provide £9.4 million of community funding
over its 25-year lifetime.

In documents lodged with appeal officials, the company has argued that the
scheme will help meet Scotland’s renewable targets.

Agents also stressed that the site is close to a road network capable of
accommodating turbines of the scale proposed.

In its objection letter, Aberfeldy Community Council said the scheme was
“not hugely controversial” and had been backed by local businesses, but the
group has objected to the potential cumulative effect.

In 2014, councillors rejected plans for a seven turbine expansion of the
Calliachar site, but developers secured planning permission following a
successful appeal to Scottish Ministers in April.


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