Turbine fears for Dark Sky Park

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown is urging the Scottish Government to investigate the impact of wind farms on tourism.

The call comes after concerns were expressed over the impact on the Dark Sky Park by the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, the John Muir Trust and the Scottish Wild Land Group.

They warn that the nine proposed turbines near the park’s observatory could put the Dark Sky status at risk due to Ministry of Defence and Aviation Authority safety regulations which require wind turbines to be illuminated by infra-red light.

Turbines near the park could fall into the latter category, and the campaigners have claimed it would affect both the ability of astronomers to use sensitive equipment, and the visibility of the sky.

Russell Brown said: “The Galloway Dark Sky Park is a unique tourist attraction as it is the only one in the country. Such a tourist attraction is important to the local economy as tourists will come from all round to experience the clear sky. This helps local restaurant and hotels. Yet light pollution would put this at risk and the Scottish Government are not taking into this into account. On top of this, it would have a negative impact on the observatory, which Alex Salmond open with great fanfare and now his Government’s policies which are to the detriment of the world class facility.

“Local people are tired of the fact that our region being used is receiving a disproportionate number of wind farms. Now we have three national organisations who have come out against the nine proposed wind farms within the vicinity of the park and requested that the Scottish Government look again at its planning policy. It is time for the Scottish Government to take a serious look at what impact these developments are having on local communities in areas such as tourism. In our area we get all the pain of windfarm developments through the damage to the scenic environment but very few of the benefits such as jobs.”