A LOCAL community group have joined campaigners in Auchterarder urging residents to object proposals to extend the Burnfoot Hill windfarm.

Friends of the Ochils say they are "incensed" at the plan which "tears at the heart of the Ochils". They are joined by Lang Toon residents who worry they will soon be "surrounded by wind farms" which they believe are spoiling the green infrastructure of the area.

Earlier last month Wind Prospect filed three planning applications for 18 more wind turbines at and next to the Burnfoot Hill Windfarm. If Wind Prospect have their way this will result in a total of 31 turbines on three adjacent sites - Burnfoot 15, Rhodders nine and Frandy Hill seven. But surrounding residents in Auchterarder and Glendevon are worried the extensions will have a "detrimental impact" on the area.

They worry for the effect it will have on tourism with it already possible to see several wind farms - Burnfoot, Greenknowes, Braes of Doune and Lochelbank - from numerous viewpoints. Local resident Malcolm Best, who is both on the Auchterarder community council and Friends committee, said: "Currently these wind farms at least appear as separate wind farms but filling in the gaps with Rhodders and Frandy Hill will make it look like one giant wind farm. This area of the Ochils is less than one hour from Scotland's two largest population centres - Glasgow and Edinburgh - and as such is visited by many people from these two cities and elsewhere. To put even more wind turbines on these hills would simply be wrong."

"The cumulative impact of all these windfarms will be a disaster as far as visitors, hill goers and local residents are concerned. In fact this development would turn the Ochils into a landscape of wind farms rather than a landscape of beautiful hills with some wind farms."

The Friends also voiced concerns over cumulative effects the planned Standingfauld windfarm would have on the area and the effect on recreation with the experience of climbing to the top of Ben Cleuch - the highest peak in the Ochils - "fatally compromised for at least the next 25 years by the ridiculous number of turbines that will be on display from that peak."

Malcolm added: "We cannot allow this situation to continue and we should all be urging our local councillors, MSPs and MPs to do everything they can to stop this before it is too late. We want everybody to formally object - the easiest way to do this is online at www.pkc.gov.uk."

Sarah Dooley, Senior Development Manager for the project said: "Scotland has a vast wind energy resource and these three projects represent a real opportunity for both Clackmannanshire and Perth and Kinross to increase their contributions to meeting Scotland's green energy targets."