Community Council object to California Wind Park

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The Royal Burgh of Wigtown and District Community Council has lodged an official objection to Ecotricity’s ‘California Wind Park’.

The three-page letter listed five reasons to block the renewable energy company’s plans for seven 100 metre high turbines on a hill behind Carsluith, directly opposite the county town.

The main objections are: Landscape character impact - “the size, scale and numbers of turbines is out of keeping with the surrounding landscape.”

Heritage impact - “The proposal would have a significant detrimental impact on the setting of numerous designated sites of heritage importance due to intrusive visual impact.” Economic and tourism impact - “Visitors often comment negatively about the large number of wind turbines in the area and the proposed site would adversely affect visual appreciation of several tourist sites.”

General amenity and health impact - “The proposal risks producing considerable detriment to the daily life and well-being of a significant number of people locally and in wider Wigtownshire.”

Pre-application consultation - “The community council was aware of increasing public concern but the developer declined requests to attend a public meeting.”

Convenor Nick Walker added: “The community council is not opposed to renewable energy in principle, However, we believe that the impacts of this proposal are unacceptable and it fails to satisfy Local Development Plan policy.”

Save Wigtown Bay, the action group opposed to the ‘California’ proposal said they were “delighted” that Dumfries and Galloway’s Planning Department had received 1250 objections, including six local community councils.

Chairman of Save Wigtown Bay Martin Green said: “We are overwhelmed and humbled by the magnitude of local support in our bid to defend our stunning countryside against a proposal that will destroy the very heart and soul of Bonnie Galloway. There are some serious health and safety concerns as well. Sixty-four homes and holiday cottages are within 2km of the proposed site and may be susceptible to noise or shadow flicker.

“Even more damning, there are 19 private water supplies which could be affected by road construction and the concrete block foundations used to support the turbines. Ecotricity have failed to provide adequate data on six of these. We call upon Ecotricity’s Dale Vince to visit the people of The Machars and explain himself. Ecotricity calculate that California could meet the annual electricity demands of 8,900 households in Dumfries and Galloway. Dumfries and Galloway already has 1600MW of wind farm capacity, operational or consented.

“Based on the same load factors used by Ecotricity, this is sufficient to supply 678,095 D&G households.

“In 2013 there were only 68,682 households in D&G. It’s about time Galloway was granted National Park status. Maybe, this would put an end to the ludicrous spread of these industrial turbines in highly unsuitable and inappropriate locations. At the moment, our delicate countryside is rife with them. People do not visit Bonnie Galloway to look at turbines. They visit to step back in time and to revel in our magical landscape.” Unfortunately Ecotricity had not replied to requests for comment by the time of going to press.