Massive wind farm given go-ahead

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THE go-ahead has been given this week for Wigtownshire’s biggest wind farm with 96 turbines of 145 metres (480 feet) in height set to go up in the hills.

Kilgallioch, between New Luce and Barrhill, will be the second largest onshore project for Scottish Power Renewables and had originally been proposed with 132 turbines.

Work is due to begin at the end of 2014 on the project, which will be five kilometres south of Barrhill, five kilometres north-east of New Luce and 11 kilometres north-west of Kirkcowan.

The plans were passed by the Scottish government last week, with Dumfries and Galloway Council being bypassed due to the size of the proposals, and will bring the total number of wind turbines in Galloway and South Ayrshire either already in operation, at the planning stage or at the scoping stage to more than 500.

Scottish Power Renewables says the wind farm will create 250 new jobs and will require £400 million of investment.

But 64 objections were received based on visual impact, transport concerns and noise pollution.

Objector Ben Palmer said in reference to the community benefit expected from Kilgal­lioch: “We get three years of misery on our roads – hopefully, we will not get a death as we did for Arecleoch when a Spanish driver drove on the wrong side of the road.

“We also get a further drop in tourism (which we can ill afford) and a further drop in house values. On the jobs front, we will get two rangers to pick up the dead birds in the unlikely event that anyone actually wants to walk this fully turbinised section of the Southern Upland Way.”

Councillor Graham Nicol said the concerns expressed by the council were taken into account “to an extent”, and that the company behind the plans has offered cash to improve the Southern Upland Way.

He added: “We as the council were only statutory consultees and therefore we had the same powers as all other consultees and no more.

“We did manage to convince the company to reduce the size of the project and reduce the height of some of the turbines.”

Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Kilgallioch is a very sig­nificant renewable energy project that will make a major contribution towards both Scotland’s and the UK’s carbon reduction targets. Scotland has fantastic resources for renewable energy developments, from onshore and offshore wind power, to wave and tidal power.”

n ANother application – this one for 14 turbines at Airies Farm, Glenluce – is due to be submitted to planners next week.

The proposal, from Airies Windfarm Limited, is for a renewable energy development 12 kilometres north-east of Glenluce and nine kilometres north of Kirkcowan.

The council has received 13 letters of objection and the plans are being recommended for refusal by planning chiefs.

n Letters – page 14