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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Calls for wind farm moratorium
Wind turbine
Campaigners fear turbines will get larger
The Scottish Executive has been urged to impose a moratorium on future wind farm developments by protesters in Perth and Kinross.

A public debate took place on Monday night - with objectors saying the landscape could be spoiled by up to five new wind farms in Perthshire.

Campaigners argued that a proper strategy needs to be worked out.

However, the executive said that it believed there was already a good system in place.

There are no wind farms in the Ochil Hills at present and campaigners fear that the landscape will be spoiled.

We've got the landscape - we've got to protect that - we have to look at future power demands and needs and we need time to do that
Alison Grave
Wind Farms Awareness Group
They are also worried that the next generation of turbines will be much larger than the last.

Alison Grave of the Wind Farms Awareness Group said the plans are significant.

She told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We have a proposal that is over a quarter of the size of Perth and that is just one part of the Ochils and there are at least five being proposed in the Ochils."

Developers denied the claim that wind farms would reach this scale but Ms Grave is calling for a halt to the process.

"We really want a temporary moratorium so that we can get a strategy in place to look at the location of the wind farms," she said.

Healthy debate

"We've got the landscape - we've got to protect that - we have to look at future power demands and needs and we need time to do that. This is a quick fix dash at the moment."

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "Renewable energy does not only help tackle climate change, but also offers significant economic opportunities.

"Such energy schemes go through a rigorous planning process to ensure that these developments take account of their impact on local communities and environment.

"Also, the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland - which is chaired by ministers and includes representatives from the industry and other stakeholders - helps provide national guidance and expertise on the development of the sector."

The Scottish Renewables Forum, which represents the industry, said there were a number of good locations in the area.

Its chief executive Rob Forest said the outlook was not as bad as opponents feared.

Mr Forest said: "They are right to have a concern and there should be a debate.

"There's a lot of projects coming forward in Perthshire, we don't believe that every one of those will go ahead and the planning system is designed to deal with that."

Protesters organised the meeting because they believe many people do not realise what is happening on their doorstep.

Speakers at the event included conservationist David Bellamy.

BBC Scotland's Louise Batchelor
"Wind farms are becoming one of the hottest environmental issues"

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