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Dunbar becomes carbon neutral?

Dunbar could be the first town in the county to be powered totally by wind as £30 million plans for turbines are set to come before council planning chiefs.

Eco-power bosses hope to wipe out the town’s “˜carbon footprint’ making Dunbar ““ which has well over 6,000 residents ““ environmentally friendly by 2008.

Plans for a 16-turbine windfarm at Aikengall, south of Innerwick, have been mooted by Cheshire-based Community Windpower Ltd for two years.

Scottish Natural Heritage has lodged an official objection to the detailed planning application as it believes the windfarm will have a detrimental visual impact on the surrounding Lammermuir Hills.

East Lothian Council planning committee will soon decide whether SNH’s concerns outweigh rubbing out Dunbar’s carbon dioxide output.

Residents were due to attend a presentation about the proposals on Wednesday evening by Community Windpower at Hallhill Healthy Living Centre.

Community Windfarm Ltd is also hoping to install a smaller turbine at Dunbar Primary School and work started this week on a turbine at Innerwick Primary School.

Most of the electricity used by Dunbar businesses and residents is drawn from Cockenzie Power Station which feeds a sub-station near Spott.

But Community Windpower Ltd believes Dunbar won’t have to draw power from Cockenzie power station ““ which generates environmentally harmful carbon dioxide ““ if the Aikengall windfarm plans go ahead.

They say the 16-turbine windfarm ““ which will be situated on land rented from a local farmer ““ will generate electricity for 40 per cent of the year, producing 48 megawatts a year ““ enough for 30,000 homes.

Around 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be displaced as a result, the company claims.

Electricity that isn’t used by Dunbar businesses and residents could be used by neighbouring Lafarge cement works, or fed into the National Grid.

The 90-metre-diameter turbines will sit on top of 80-metre towers at the site, near 25-turbine site Crystal Rig, which provides power for Borders towns.

The plans are set to go before the planning committee either in February or March and the company hopes to have the turbines fully operational by 2008.

Community Windfarm Ltd project manager Ceri McGrath said the plans had received widespread support in the Dunbar community.

“If Dunbar could be one one of the first communities in Scotland to become carbon neutral the residents would take a great deal of pride in that,” she said.

“The children that we have spoken to were extremely keen. I think from a child’s perspective it seems to be very logical.”

By East Lothian Newsroom