As you know, one of the principal reasons for our fundraising drive (a fantastically successful one so far!) has been to enable Save Straiton for Scotland to employ consultants to help us to present our objections to the individual wind farms in the best possible way. Their job is to make sense of the complex planning regulations and guidelines which apply to wind farms at both local and national level, and to write and present reports outlining legitimate objections at the appropriate time.
We have secured the services of a highly knowledgeable technical team – one that is probably more experienced than any other in assessing and presenting thorough planning policy objections to wind farms and wind turbines. The core of the team will be Ian Kelly MRTPI and Mark Steele. Ian, who is an experienced planning advisor with Graham and Sibbald, chartered surveyors, will address planning policy and the overall administration of the case. Mark, a Chartered Landscape Architect and a member of the Landscape Institute, with over 25 years’ experience of landscape planning and design, will address landscape and visual impacts. These two areas are absolutely key – every wind farm rejection has rested on planning policy and/or landscape.
If needed, we can also draw on the services of Dick Bowdler to address noise issues and John Campbell QC (who has already kindly visited and given advice) on legal aspects.
The team’s services have been engaged initially to help present arguments against Linfairn wind farm, which will be the first to seek planning permission.
There are many broader aspects that rightly concern us about the proposed wind farms, but there is no doubt that eventual decision will be made entirely on recognised planning policy grounds. It is on planning policy alone that the team will be concentrating, to give us all the best chance of successfully making our case.
The team have all agreed to work within the limits of the funds that we have and the budget will be carefully monitored.
In addition to this team, and following advice by Adam Ingram MSP, we are also being ably assisted through Planning aid for Scotland, by Mark Russell.