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Binn Group plans for bigger turbines turned down after split council vote

Binn Group will not be allowed to build taller turbines
Binn Group will not be allowed to build taller turbines

Controversial plans to increase the size of four planned wind turbines at Perthshire’s Binn Eco Park have been narrowly rejected by councillors.

Binn Group was given permission for four 115-metre towers to be built at the firm’s base near Glenfarg in 2015, against the advice of council officers.

Four years on, none of the structures have been built and the company, which employs more than 160 people, has reapplied to Perth and Kinross Council for permission to add another 9m to each mast.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh-based Green Cat, which is working with Binn on the turbines scheme, said the extension would allow the structures to produce 5% more electricity.

The waste management firm is looking to power all the operations at Binn Eco Park with renewables, replacing its existing diesel generators.

The group is also considering battery storage as a way of improving efficiency.

Lawyer John Campbell, who was representing 23 local residents at this week’s meeting of the planning and development management committee, told councillors an updated noise assessment was needed.

Speaking on behalf of six households who live within a kilometre of the earmarked site, Mr Campbell suggested that raising the rotors by 5m could increase the noise by five decibels.

However, it was the visual impact which encouraged planners to recommend refusal of the plans.

The turbines, described as being twice the height of the Wallace Monument, would be visible from the likes of Kinnoull Hill, West Lomond and Abernethy.

Councillors were split, with planning and development management committee convener Roz McCall (Conservative) supporting Binn Group, backed by four others.

Fellow Conservative Ian James described the turbines as “monstrosities”, while vice convener Bob Brawn said that the structures would “become part of the landscape in time.”

The SNP were also split on what councillor Richard Watters described as a “very difficult decision”, with he and Eric Drysdale voting in favour of the turbines being built.

When it came to the vote, seven elected members from the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and an independent backed the local residents’ calls for refusal.

Binn Group still has planning permission for the initial towers, however Green Cat could not confirm if it intended to pursue the project further at this stage.

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