A proposed wind farm development near Alyth was this week rejected by councillors.
The application centred on 11 turbines earmarked for Green Burn wind farm, situated on land 1.2km west of the existing Drumderg Wind Farm, which sits 5km northeast of Bridge of Cally.
Applicant ABO Wind UK’s submission was recommended for refusal by council planners due to “cumulative landscape impacts on residential, recreational and tourist receptors”.
Councillors voted eight to four to reject the development.
Addressing members of Perth and Kinross Council’s development management committee, Blairgowrie and Glens councillor Bob Ellis — who co-founded the Cateran Trail — said: “Tourism in our area has never been as busy as far as accommodation bookings are concerned, and more quirky accommodation is still being built.
“The demand for outdoor adventure activities in this area has grown so much that two new companies have now sprung up at the back end of last year.
“There’s great excitement too about a new project called Cateran Common Wealth, which will cover the whole of east Perthshire — again, this wind farm will not affect it.”
The SNP member continued by saying that, in his many encounters with tourists taking the trail, no one had raised any concerns about wind farms, and suggested that the area could benefit to the tune of £165,000 annually if the development went ahead.
He added: “Nobody since 1999 has said anything about wind farms.
“Councillors, I am very much aware that communities are very much split on this wind farm but in the interest of fairness and progress within all of the communities in east Perthshire, I urge you to approve this application.”
Anti-wind farm campaigner Alison Petrie claimed the mooted project would damage tourism and the local economy and also said that the turbines would have a detrimental effect on sensitive wildlife species, particularly the area’s birds.
Kirkmichael resident Ms Petrie added: “If this planning application goes ahead, then north Perthshire will have been changed for the rest of my life and, although I have no children, I feel this is not the legacy we should leave behind.
“It’s a beautiful place that I have lived in since 1963, nearly all my life, and it’s where I’d like to have my ashes spread.”
The issue was then opened up to debate. Councillor John Kellas embarked upon a rigorous interrogation of the paper’s nuances.
After around 15 minutes of questioning Perth City North Labour councillor Callum Gillies interjected, asking convener Cllr Tom Gray: “Surely Mr Kellas should be asking some of these questions before he comes in.
“He’s continually going on and on and not letting anyone else speak.”
Cllr Alan Livingstone proposed a motion to refuse the paper, saying that after the addition of 11 turbines, the picture in the area would be substantially different.
He added: “I’ve yet to find anyone in favour of wind farms that would sit beside them and give them a good cuddle.”
The motion passed by eight votes to four.