North Ayrshire Planning Committee has unanimously rejected an application by Renewable Energy Systems Ltd to build a controversial windfarm near Largs, Ayrshire.
The proposal was to build 19 turbines – each around 300ft high but North Ayrshire planning chiefs said the windfarm posed a threat to the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park environment and the tourism industry.
The 108 sq mile Kelburn Estate park attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Council chiefs also found that the windfarm was contrary to the Ayrshire Structure Plan which designates areas suitable for wind farm development. The Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park Authority had claimed that the windfarm posed a threat to ecology, tourism and recreation.
Robert Maund, chairman of the Scottish Council for National Parks, said: “We hope this wise decision heralds the beginning of the end for the developer-led scramble for windfarm consents, which is threatening to overwhelm the regional park and destroy it as a place of recreation.”
Air traffic control bosses are also calling for another windfarm application to be blocked.
The National Air Traffic Services claims that 400ft turbines’ blades and towers, planned for Dalmellington Ayrshire would reflect radar signals, make them look like moving planes and so pose a safety hazard.
In yet another battle over windfarms in Ayrshire the granddaughter of General Dwight Eisenhower has joined forces with the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) over the construction of wind turbines at Knoweside Hill, three miles north of Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire coast in Scotland. The castle sits on a rugged cliff on the Ayrshire coast and was created in the 18th-century by Robert Adam. It is owned by the National Trust.
Susan Eisenhower, who is the grand-daughter of the famous american general and head of Washington DC’s Eisenhower Institute foreign policy and security think-tank has lodged a formal protest with South Ayrshire Council.
She said: “There are many places where wind farms can be built, but there is only one Culzean Castle with its magnificent sweep of views. My grandfather loved Culzean Castle and it is a place enjoyed by thousands of Scots and overseas visitors every year.The setting is absolutely irreplaceable. It should be protected.”
The general was given the top-floor apartment at Culzean Castle at the end of the Second World War, in recognition of the part he played in commanding Scottish troops and overcoming the Nazi threat. Ms Eisenhower is tring to stop a £20m development involving 250ft turbines.
Michael Hunter, NTS’s west region director, said: “This is the first time the trust has objected to a wind farm, as we generally support renewable energy developments. However, we are strongly opposed because of the damage to one of Scotland’s most significant heritage sites.” NTS is concerned that the development will deter some of the 200,000 visitors a year to the castle and its adjoining country park.
Historic Scotland, and The Scottish Natural Heritage agency have also endorsed the campaign against the proposals. The Culzean proposal is for 15 wind turbines on 310 hectaresowned by the trustees of the Cassillis and Culzean Estate, who would make millions of pounds.
Banks Group, the developers, claim views of the turbines from the castle and grounds would be “limited” and that local communities would benefit to the tune of £500,000 for community projects over the windfarm’s 25-year lifespan. “We are aware that there are concerns about our proposals and we have met with these organisations to discuss them in detail,” said Phil Dyke, renewable energy director at Banks.
The Scottish Executive has pledged that 40 per cent of Scotland’s electricity should come from renewable energy sources by 2020 but the deputy enterprise minister Allan Wilson recently refused permission for a 24-turbine wind farm near Crieff in Perthshire, to preserve the area’s “natural beauty.” However, a report estimated that the number of wind turbines in Scotland will have to almost double over the next four years for renewable energy targets to be met.
On the island of Lewis there are proposals for 234 turbines which have also provoked major opposition.
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