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Effort to calm storm over windfarm fears

Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks are angry at the latest draft of the park's local plan. They say park planners have identified large areas of sensitive, scenic landscape as suitable areas of search for windfarm developments. The conservation groups urged park authority members to declare the park a no-go area for windfarms.

Conservation groups fear windfarms could wreck some of the most spectacular views in the national park.

But park officials claim the concern is based on a misunderstanding.

Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks are angry at the latest draft of the park's local plan.

They say park planners have identified large areas of sensitive, scenic landscape as suitable areas of search for windfarm developments.

The conservation groups urged park authority members to declare the park a no-go area for windfarms.

Friends chairman James Fraser said: "The park authority is in real danger of threatening the very special scenic qualities of Scotland's first national park which it was originally set up to protect and conserve.

"We appreciate the park authority is under pressure to ensure the area contributes to the national targets for renewable energy but designating almost 70 per cent of the landward area of the park as suitable areas of search for windfarms is not the answer.

"There are opportunities for less intrusive forms of renewables which do not detract from... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Conservation groups fear windfarms could wreck some of the most spectacular views in the national park.

But park officials claim the concern is based on a misunderstanding.

Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks are angry at the latest draft of the park's local plan.

They say park planners have identified large areas of sensitive, scenic landscape as suitable areas of search for windfarm developments.

The conservation groups urged park authority members to declare the park a no-go area for windfarms.

Friends chairman James Fraser said: "The park authority is in real danger of threatening the very special scenic qualities of Scotland's first national park which it was originally set up to protect and conserve.

"We appreciate the park authority is under pressure to ensure the area contributes to the national targets for renewable energy but designating almost 70 per cent of the landward area of the park as suitable areas of search for windfarms is not the answer.

"There are opportunities for less intrusive forms of renewables which do not detract from what are some of Scotland's most iconic landscapes."

SCNP said: "There is no place for commercial scale wind turbines in national parks. The supplementary guidance issued by the officials came very late in the process and seemed as big a shock to board members as it did to us but they failed to stand firm.

"The park authority now has the opportunity to reject the approach recommended by officers and bring themselves into line with Scotland's other national park, the Cairngorms, and every other national park in the UK."

A park spokesperson said: "The national park's first draft local plan renewable energy policies strongly opposed commercial windfarms.

"In response to objections and criticisms of this policy and Scottish Government guidance, the authority has produced draft supplementary planning guidance on renewable energy. This provides a more detailed assessment and justification for the policies in our finalised local plan.

"It does not identify any areas of the park for commercial windfarm development."

The park's director of planning and rural development Gordon Watson said: "I am saddened that the Friends have misunderstood what the supplementary guidance is actually saying.

"Our clear message in the draft guidance is that small hydro power generation is where the park area can make a valuable contribution to renewable energy targets without affecting the area's natural heritage.

"We are already seeing some excellent small, sensitive schemes, such as that recently completed at Glen Douglas. We are clearly saying that there is no scope for significant commercial windfarm schemes in the national park but have provided detailed guidance for small community and private turbines which could be accommodated in certain circumstances.

"In all cases it is our first duty to safeguard the natural and cultural heritage and our comprehensive guidance reflects this.

"We will ensure these messages are clearer in our revised guidance."


Source: http://www.stirlingobserver...

JUN 25 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/26903-effort-to-calm-storm-over-windfarm-fears
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