A community group which wants to build a wind turbine to help finance a paths network has changed its plans after residents complained.
The not-for-profit Bespoke Community Development Company has submitted a planning application to Falkirk Council to erect a 78-metre high single turbine near Greencraig Farm.
The site is around one kilometre south east of the Westerglen transmission masts on land owned by Callendar Estates, which the group is affiliated with.
The group wants to generate cash from selling the renewable electricity produced by the turbine to maintain the 67km paths network on the estate, which is used by horse riders, cyclists and dog walkers, for decades to come.
They say the turbine has the potential to provide Bespoke with an estimated £1.9 million over the 20-year lifespan of the giant structure, which objectors say will ruin the landscape in the rural countryside and harm local wildlife. However, the volunteer-led group says “extensive” studies have been carried out over the past 18 months into the potential effects of the proposal and they are convinced it won’t affect “views, nearby residents, birds, wildlife, aviation and other matters” too detrimentally.
After hearing the views of residents at public meetings held in Slamannan, Shieldhill and Falkirk to explain their initial proposals, the decision was taken to reduce the height of the turbine to around half that of the Westerglen masts.
Any income will allow Bespoke to extend its work with local schools and develop further projects. Once the turbine reaches the end of its life, it would be removed.
Bespoke volunteer director Dave Bennet said: “If planning permission is granted, we hope that the turbine will be generating renewable electricity by late 2015, generating income to maintain popular local path networks and provide environmental education for many years after that.
“We know that wind power can be controversial but, as a local community-based environmental organisation ourselves, we’ve worked hard to make sure that the proposed turbine will not damage either the local environment or individual residents’ amenity.
“We believe the combination of generating renewable power and keeping our local public paths in good condition is the ideal solution for us.”