Group hits out at Wigtown Bay plans

How Wigtown Bay might look with turbines across the water
How Wigtown Bay might look with turbines across the water
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A group formed to protect the beauty of Wigtown Bay and oppose a proposed Ecotricity wind farm has criticised comments by the boss of the company this week.

Save Wigtown Bay has called for public meetings in a bid to let locals know the impact the eight-turbine California Wind Park development will have on the landscape.

And this week, members of the group reacted angrily to an interview in which Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said he would not apply to build any more wind farms in England as he did not want to waste millions of pounds on projects that would be rejected due to a change in government policy meaning fewer will be approved.

Mr Vince said instead, he would focus on trying to build wind farms in Scotland.

Mr Vince also later appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme and suggested he would seek planning permission in: “places they work, where they are acceptable to people and they don’t have harmful impacts.”

Chairman of Save Wigtown Bay, Martin Green said: “If he [Dale] thinks Scotland is a soft touch, he might want to reconsider.

“ It beggars belief that they think they can waltz in here and set about desecrating such a beautiful part of the country now that the English cash cow has dried up. We don’t want this development.”

Shaun Bythell, owner of The Bookshop, Wigtown, added: “Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, the RSPB and the Council Landscape Architect have already expressed concern at this proposition.

“ These projects benefit the few at the expense of the many and Wigtown Bay forms the background to Scotland’s National Book Town, vital for our tourism industry. Ecotricity are carrying on regardless. It is disappointing that they are not listening to local people, despite what Dale Vince said in his Radio 4 interview.”

An Ecotricity spokesperson said: “Renewable energy projects do benefit the many in so far as its makes Scotland and the wider UK more energy independent, reduces our carbon emissions and makes us less dependent on fossil fuels.

“Ecotricity will be holding two public exhibitions about their California Wind Park proposal in January (one in Carsluith and one in Wigtown), as specified in the Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) to Dumfries and Galloway Council and the five parish councils in the region.

“This will give all members of the public an opportunity to come along and talk to us about the proposal, see the photomontages of the wind park and provide feedback prior to the submission of any application.

“Ecotricity is also looking to establish a Community Liaison Group, to create a long-term forum for members of the community that allows meaningful dialogue throughout the planning process, both before and after the submission of any planning application.

“The main function of the group will be to raise and discuss locally important issues and provide a link between Ecotricity and the local community. “

The people behind Save Wigtown Bay will be holding a public meeting on Tuesday 16 December from 7.30 to 8.30 pm, in Wigtown County Buildings. and say Ecotricity declined to attend.