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Fear Ochils turbine plans will ruin Gleneagles scenery

Andrew Jowett, head golf professional at Gleneagles, on the PGA Centenary Course.
Andrew Jowett, head golf professional at Gleneagles, on the PGA Centenary Course.

The stunning Perthshire landscape was showcased to an audience of millions during a triumphant Ryder Cup 2014.

For one week Gleneagles became the epicentre of the sporting world as Europe and the USA clashed on its greens and fairways, with the Ochils as the backdrop.

That landscape could change dramatically if plans for a giant new windfarm progress.

Green Energy company PNE Wind Ltd hopes to raise as many as 25 giant turbines in the Ochils, each an imposing 126.5 metres, with the applicant keen to progress the scheme in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland.

Opponents have been quick to react, however, with the Perth-based Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) moving to signal its disquiet.

The independent organisation has to date objected to only around one in 20 applications, but has moved to block proposals it regards as potentially the most damaging to Scotland’s mountain assets.

In a letter to PNE Wind UK, its chief officer David Gibson wrote: “We have not previously commented on windfarm proposals located in the Ochils but we consider North Hill to be a particularly egregious and ill-advised proposal.

“This would be a significantly larger windfarm, with significantly higher turbines, than any existing in the Ochil Hills.”

He also noted that the location chosen overlapped two previous windfarm application sites, both of which were refused.

Cumulative impact, meanwhile, may prove to be one of the key issues, as the Lochelbank (18 turbines), Green Knowes (12 turbines) and Burnfoot (21 turbines) sites are all within an 11km radius.

A spokesman from PNE Wind UK urged the public to withhold judgement, saying: “The PNE Wind UK proposals for North Hill Windfarm are at a very early stage and we will be working closely with key stakeholders and the local community to ensure we can deliver a windfarm that is sensitively designed to the natural features of the site.

“I would encourage anyone with an interest in the proposals to visit our website www.pnewindukforestry.co.uk where they can find out more about our plans.”

Residents can also email northhillwindfarm@communityline.org or call 0203 128 8938 for further information.

A spokeswoman for Gleneagles said the hotel and resort had only recently become aware of the scheme and was considering its implications.

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