Wind Farm Developments in the Ochils
The past fifteen years or so have seen several windfarm developments in the Ochils. To date three have been built – at Green Knowes (18 Turbines), Lochelbank (12 turbines) and at Burnfoot Hill – the latter comprising of the original Burnfoot Hill development (13 turbines) followed by three extensions, Burnfoot Hill North (2 turbines), Rhodders windfarm (6 turbines) and Burnfoot Hill East (3 turbines). In addition, there have been a number of applications approved for individual turbines or clusters of turbines in and around the Ochils.
Not all applications have been successful with numerous applications such as those for wind farms at Mellock Hill, Little Law, Frandy Hill and Snowgoat Glen being refused, often on appeal.
In addition to submitting objections to these many developments, Friends of the Ochils have participated in several 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 and Annual Reports; they illustrate just how, for a number of years up to 2016, the Ochils became the focus of windfarm development with the number of applications running well into double figures.
After a few years of relative inactivity, the Ochils are once again the focus of windfarm developments, this time with turbines far higher to blade tip than previously. Turbines up to 200 meters blade tip height (BTH) are being proposed, ones almost twice the height of most turbines already built in the Ochils and not far short of the height of the towers on the Queensferry Crossing across the Forth at 210 meters.
Three windfarm proposals are currently at the pre-application stage – Brunt Hill, Craighead and Windburn windfarms. As the capacity for each exceeds 50 MW, submitted applications will be determined by Scottish Ministers. Information about all three is obtainable on the Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit (ECU). ECU website : www.energyconsents.scot.
It is anticipated that applications for each will be submitted to the ECU from October 2023 onwards. Meanwhile developers will be completing an Environmental Impact Assessment for each, based on the scoping opinion for each proposal, to accompany any application. Details of each development are as follows:
Brunthill Wind Farm
ECU Ref: ECU00004654
Developer’s website: Brunt Hill (brunthillinfo.co.uk)
Proposal for a windfarm of 18 turbines (reduced from the original 26) of 200 meters BTH in the Ochils to the north of Carnbo.
Craighead Wind Farm
ECU Ref: ECU00004738
Developer’s website: www.craigheadwindfarm.co.uk
Proposal for a windfarm of 10 turbines (reduced from original 12) of 200 meters BTH in the Ochils north of Carnbo near to the original Mellock Hill windfarm proposal.
Windburn Wind Farm
ECU Ref: ECU00004782
1. Developer’s website: www.windburnwindfarm.co.uk
Proposal for 15 turbines of 149.9 meters BTH immediately to the west of the Rhodders/Burnfoot Hill Windfarm complex. (Note that turbines of 150 meters BTH or more such as those proposed for Brunt Hill and Craighead require aviation lighting)
Because there are already many wind turbines in the Ochils, FOTO has very serious concerns about the impact, including the potential cumulative impact, of these latest developments on the landscape and recreational amenity of the Ochils and the surrounding area. That is particularly the case given the very significant height of the turbines now being proposed; such turbines are far more appropriate for offshore developments.
Furthermore, all three developments would impact on the Ochils Special / Local Landscape Areas of PKC, Clackmannanshire and Stirling. We will continue to discuss those concerns with other interested parties; any formal comments on the three latest windfarm proposals will be prepared once applications have been lodged with the ECU.Return to 'Ochils Issues'