Calls for urgent meeting over Solway wind farms

Labour and Conservative politicians have slammed the revival of plans for a consultation into a wind farm in WIgtown Bay.

In 2011, the Scottish Government held a consultation on proposals for off-shore wind farms at these two sites.

After that consultation, the Scottish Government scrapped the plans as it found that these sites were unsuitable as the wind farms would be of little economic benefit to region while at the same time having negative environmental and visual consequences.

Alex Fergusson MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries has called on the Scottish Government to ‘come clean’ on its proposals.

He said: “What makes matters worse is the content of an email in my possession from the Environment Minister to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Climate Change and the Environment which states that the Wigtown Bay option was only ever a ‘Straw man’ option. In plain terms, that means that the option was only ever included in order to be taken out. The consequence of that is that a great many people’s time was wasted by responding to the consultation when there was no need to do so in the first place.

“The current consultation is on the previously ruled out ‘Robin Rigg’ option and a new site off Luce Bay. So, the question I have now put to the Scottish Government is, given that the Robin Rigg extension was ruled out 2 years ago, is it now a ‘Straw man’ option, to be discarded at a later date as a ‘trade off’ for the Luce Bay option (which is equally unacceptable in my opinion) and are the people of Dumfries and Galloway once again being asked to waste their time in responding to a consultation on which the outcome is already determined.

“All this simply flags up the disingenuous way that the Scottish Government has gone about this consultation. Many people and communities are only just becoming aware that the consultation includes wind farming options, yet the consultation ends on 14th November. It can be accessed at www.scotland.giv.uk/consultations/current and I would encourage as many people as possible to put in their submissions by that date.

Labour MP Russell Brown MP also spoke tof the party’s anger over the proposals.

He added: “It has only been two years since the original consultation and the situation has not changed. These proposed wind farms sites would still damage the environment and still have negative visual impact which in turn could hurt tourism. The Scottish Government themselves said that it would be of little economic benefit to the region, so why bring these proposals forward once again?”

“During the last consultation, local people told the Scottish Government loud and clear that they did not want these developments to go ahead and I had hoped the Scottish Government had listened.”