Scottish Government steps in to give green light to wind farm

The Scottish Government has approved permission for work on the Fell Wind Farm site to go ahead.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 3:00 pm
Another wind farm has been given the go-ahead

EnergieKontor appealed to Holyrood after Dumfries and Galloway Council failed to rule on the nine-turbine proposal near the village of Moniaive within the necessary time limit.

The planning application was submitted to the council just prior to the first period of lockdown in early 2020.

The Scottish Government’s reporter Chris Norman noted in his report that the council’s landscape architect was unable to visit the site to conduct her own assessment, while environmental health staff were re-deployed to Covid related duties.

In giving the green light to the project, Mr Norman stated that because there was another windfarm immediately adjacent to the proposed site, the impact of this one would matter less.

He wrote: “In my determination of the appeal I have placed substantial weight on the presence of the largely linear wind farm constructed on the higher contour levels, and to a great extent on the crest of the ridge between Blackcraig Hill and Fell Hill.”

And he conceded: “The turbines would be a prominent feature against the backdrop of the east facing flanks of Fell Hill, but which is a landscape substantially augmented by the turbines of Blackcraig Windfarm.”

Campaign group Save Our Hills believe the presence of another wind farm should not have been a consideration and could lead to the landscape being covered with turbines.

Iain Milligan, spokesman, said: “The basis of the Scottish Government’s decision seems to be that, because another windfarm already dominates the landscape, an extension of it is largely irrelevant.

“It’s a self-fulfilling policy which would give government the licence to cover the hills of Scotland in wind turbines.

“This is also another example of a company appealing to the Scottish Government because, through lack of resources, the local council failed to reach a decision in time.

“That’s an unacceptable failure of the democratic process, and means a significant decision which has an impact on the whole area is made by an unelected official in Edinburgh.”