PLANS for a peaking power plant near Fishcross have been refused by councillors last week.

Clackmannanshire Council's Planning Committee refused the application for the gas-fired electricity generating facility, made by Greenock-based company Fishcross Generation Ltd.

Almost all councillors agreed with planning officers' recommendation to refuse the plan as it did not comply with a number of Local Development Plan policies, related to its industrial nature and design and the adverse impacts it would have on the rural landscape.

An agent on behalf of the applicants explained to the virtual Kilncraigs chamber that the facility and its five natural gas-fired turbines would only have generated power when necessary, supplementing renewables.

The agent told the committee: "This is a facility which is considered by the Scottish Government as supporting the move towards green technology."

He added: "When there's no requirement for it, they don't work, they just sit there silently until they are required.

"In terms of a choice of site; we looked far and wide in this area.

"We have to be close to a gas pipeline and we have to be close to the SPEN facility [SP Energy Networks transformers south side of Collyland Road].

"We looked round the existing SPEN facility but due to overhead cables and existing electricity cables underground, of which there are numerous, our next bet was across the road."

The agent was perplexed as to why the application was recommended for refusal as there were few objections.

Environmental impact assessments also satisfied statutory consultants and a large battery facility was approved in the vicinity in 2017 – albeit works are yet to get underway, he explained.

The agent said: "I've been doing this a long time; I've had more objections to dormer windows than I've had for this facility."

One of three objectors was Paul Edney, owner of the Woods Caravan Park north of the proposed site.

He told the committee he was concerned about the impact of tourism at the rural site, which has become popular due to the tranquil surroundings and the views towards the Ochils.

He said: "What kind of disservice would it do to us to saddle us with such an inappropriate bedfellow?"

Most councillors agreed with the original recommendation, due to the building's impact on the countryside.

Some cited the need to move away from fossil fuels, although council papers recognised the need for such peaking plants to ensure supply.

Councillor Derek Stewart did not agree with the original recommendation.

He said: "I'm not convinced that we've got all the answers to this development.

"I know the government is trying to get away from gas, it took the government about 60 years just to get rid of the coal industry so I don't think we'll get it within 24 hours.

"We'll still need heat, electricity, etc."

He also added there were no strong objections against the development from statutory consultees such as SEPA.

While the facility was refused at the May 20 meeting, the applicants may appeal to the Scottish ministers against the decision.