Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Councillors say no to hydro plan

Councillors want the impact of the scheme to be investigated

A proposed hydro-electric power scheme in a Perthshire town has been blocked by councillors.

The 985kw system was due to be installed at Urlar Burn, Aberfeldy, after planning permission was approved in April 2009.

But the town's Common Good Fund, which owns the land, said it would not allow the development to go ahead unless certain conditions were met.

The fund wants to see more evaluation on the effects of the scheme.

Councillors on the Common Good Fund committee, which met on Wednesday to discuss the issue, said they wanted to see a "more co-operative approach" from the developers, Green Highland Renewables.

A shorter lease needed to be negotiated and the impact on tourism should also be investigated, the committee said.

'Open door'

The development would affect the River Tay Special Area of Conservation and Birks of Aberfeldy Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) had previously raised concerns about the Birks of Aberfeldy's small cow-wheat, a nationally scarce plant which is protected by law.

The population at the Birks is the second largest in Scotland and provides seeds which are being used to establish new populations at other locations.

A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said: "The committee rejected it, but left the door open for the company to come back with a revised scheme once these criteria have been met.

"Councillors voted three to two for this. The two who voted against wanted it rejected outright. There isn't a lot of support for this scheme."

Neil Fraser, of Green Highland Renewables, said: "We will be happy to work with Aberfeldy Common Good Fund Committee and Aberfeldy Community Council to address the various issues that have been raised and we are confident there will be a positive resolution."

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