For many years the Ochils have been targeted by windfarm developers and to date three windfarms have been built – at Green Knowes, Lochelbank and Burnfoot Hill. In addition there have been many applications for large individual turbines or clusters of turbines in and around the Ochils. The effort to build even more turbines continues both with planning applications for extensions to the existing windfarms and many applications for individual or small groups of turbines. Concerns about what is happening to the Ochils is widespread and they continue to be expressed both by ourselves, many individuals and organisations such as Scottish Natural Heritage.

In addition to submitting objections to these many developments, we have participated in many local public inquiries along with other organisations and campaign groups such as the Ramblers Association, Friends of Rural Kinross and the Windfarm Action Group which opposed the Lochelbank development. The details of the various campaigns are contained in the FotO Newsletters; they illustrate just how the Ochils came under siege from the windfarm developers with the number of applications running well into double figures.

Applications continue to be submitted to the local authorities. The most significant to date has been the three applications for an additional 18 turbines in the Burnfoot Hill area to add to the existing windfarm of 13 turbines. If approved, we will see the Ochils turned from a landscape with windfarms into a windfarm landscape. Once that happens arguments against even more wind turbines start to fall away and the battle will have been lost to save the Ochils from becoming one big windfarm.

The damage to the Ochils landscape and the associated visual and recreational amenity reflects the wider damage that is being done to the Scottish landscape by wind turbines and we share problems similar to those being experienced in the Pentlands and elsewhere. The question has to be asked of governments and individual politicians as to where this will all end. The Friends of the Ochils is quite clear about its strategy. Given the way that the planning system works in relation to windfarm applications, with no serious attempt to develop a strategic approach to the siting of wind turbines we have had no option but to campaign vigorously against each application as it has been submitted. To do less would have run counter to our aims and objective to protect and conserve the landscape, wildlife and natural beauty of the Ochils and their historical and social character.

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