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Campaigners say landscapes are ‘under siege’ by wind power developers

Kim Cessford - 02.03.13 - FOR FILE - pictured is the wind turbine at Methil
Kim Cessford - 02.03.13 - FOR FILE - pictured is the wind turbine at Methil

Campaigners have called for new protections for parts of Scotland that appear “under siege” by wind power developers.

Kinross-shire Councillor Michael Barnacle is among those who believe that areas such as the Ochils, Stirling-shire and Highland Perthshire have been stripped of all protection.

He fears that changes to Scottish Government policy will leave them at the mercy of some of the country’s most aggressive renewables firms.

To combat that, he is pushing Kinross-shire to be considered a National Scenic Area or for large parts of Kinross-shire and the Ochil Hills to be designated as areas of great landscape value before it is too late.

Should the area receive such status, it would restrict development in the area.

“The protections that were once in place against inappropriate development have been stripped away,” Mr Barnacle said.

“A study undertaken by Scottish Natural Heritage and the council identified one location in the Ochils for windfarm development.

“We now have three in this area and there are yet more plans coming forward. I believe that it is being unfairly targeted by a plethora of wind power developers and I think it is time to call a halt.”

At a recent meeting of the Kinross-shire Civic Trust, Perth and Kinross Council planners indicated that additional protection was needed for Loch Leven and its surrounding hills Cleish, Lomond and Ochil.

Mr Barnacle said it was “imperative” that planners press on with consultation and discussion on such landscape designation with Scottish Natural Heritage and local community councils.

Earlier this year, the government introduced plans for new turbine conservation zones that aim to protect areas identified as having significant landscape value.

In seeking to prohibit windfarms in the near 20% of the country that has been allocated national park or scenic area status, opponents fear the government has opened up the rest of the country for development.

In the wake of the announcement, Scotland Against Spin said the proposals would simply funnel developers towards unprotected areas. Mr Barnacle fears that is exactly what will happen and wants to see every possible step taken to prevent it.

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