Machars windfarm u-turn drama

A wind farm company made a dramatic u-turn on plans for a controversial development at Airriequhillart in the Machars this week.

Dropping all intention to develop the 18-turbine farm near Barrachan Village, EDF Energy Renewables claimed in a statement that the site was “no longer technically viable”.

The company added that it had studied results from over two years of investigations in and around the site before coming to a decision.

EDF Energy Renewables Onshore Development Manager, Dennis Garry said: “Although we take the utmost care in our initial selection of our sites, we always carry out detailed and in depth studies looking at everything from the local ecology, landscape and wind resource and other environmental factors, before making a firm decision to apply for planning permission.

“In the case of the site at Airriequhillart, we have come to the conclusion that the site would not be viable from a technical point of view.

“We would like to extend our thanks to all those locally for their patience and for the feedback we received during our investigations.”

When the company announced its interest in developing a wind farm on the site in 2012, locals in the area began a fierce campaign against the plans and called in political backing as well as launching a petition which amassed over 1000 signatures.

Andy Shiells and wife Angela, who own Barrachan Home Farm, were staunch protesters against the plans and fought tooth and nail to protect the bauty of their home.

Amid celebrations this week, Andy said: “I am delighted to hear the news that EDF have pulled out of the wind farm proposal at Airriequhillart. The last two years have been a hard fight. We have made enemies but more importantly we have made many friends within the anti turbine community and our own community. I am grateful to everyone who has supported us including our MSP s Chic Brodie, Aileen McLeod, Alex Fergusson and MP Russell Brown. Thank you for being there for us when we needed you. My thoughts are with our friends at Save Wigtown Bay. It will be a hard fight but you can win.

“We would also like to thank all of those who have offered their help and support. And a special thank you to the thousand or more so people who have signed our petition. They have really helped us sustain our opposition. I trust they will also support those opposed to the equally bizarre California Park project.”

MSP Alex Fergusson welcomed the news, adding: “I have always maintained that there are good sites and bad sites for these developments, but I have never been in any doubt that Airriequhillart was a perfect example of a very bad site.”