Reporter overturns seven-turbine refusal

A Scottish council's refusal of planning permission for seven wind turbines in the Fintry Hills has been overturned at appeal after it was ruled that landscape and visual impacts could be acceptably minimised.

Wind power: refusal overturned
Wind power: refusal overturned

A reporter appointed by the Scottish Government ruled that EDF Energy and Force 9 Energy’s 21-megawatt Craigton and Spittalhill wind farm could go ahead despite Stirling Council’s March 2015 refusal.

According to the reporter’s statement, the scheme lies within the Southern Hills local landscape area, and a number of moderate and significant impacts on landscapes and views were identified.

The reporter added that policy 12.1 of the Stirling Local Development Plan required such adverse impacts to be avoided or minimised to the satisfaction of the planning authority.

But he said: "Given Scotland’s renewable energy targets, and the national desire, expressed in National Planning Framework 3, to continue to capitalise on Scotland’s wind resources, I conclude, on balance, that the proposed wind farm’s impacts have been minimised to an acceptable degree, and that the proposal therefore complies with policy 12.1."

He concluded that the scheme accorded overall with the development plan and that no material considerations existed to justify refusing to grant planning permission.

Andrew Smith, head of planning and development at Force 9 Energy, said: "We take great care and attention in how and where we design our wind farms, seeking to minimise visual and environmental impacts to an acceptable level.

"We are pleased that the reporter’s decision affirms that we have done this successfully for the Craigton and Spittalhill project."

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