A turbine revolt in Annandale and Eskdale was whipped up by councillors this week.
They gave a resounding message to windfarm developers … no more!
On the table was an application by Edinburgh-based Wind Energy (Newfield) Ltd for a meteorological mast to the south east of Newfield Moor near Sibbaldbie – the precursor to a windfarm. It eventually went through.
However, members warned that should the company come back with plans for a windfarm on the site it would be vehemently opposed by Dumfries and Galloway Council and the community.
Area planning manager David Suttie said: “Annandale and Eskdale is at capacity and this would be a windfarm too far. Its proximity to Lockerbie and the M74 makes it an unacceptable location for a windfarm. Council officers and councillors would not support this.”
And the proposed met mast itself split Monday’s planning committee.
Mr Suttie said that he could find no planning grounds to refuse the 60-metre high met mast which would measure wind speed for two years and its data determine the viability of a future windfarm.
He also believed the company would win on appeal if the mast was refused.
Councillor Denis Male argued that met masts were a precursor to “a windfarm nobody wants” they should refused planning permission.
Putting a motion to refuse the mast, he said it was against policy as it would affect the visual impact of the site and bring about future land use conflict.
However, councillor Chris Carruthers told the committee that the issue of a windfarm was “a battle for another day” and put forward an amendment to approve the met mast as there was unsubstantiated grounds to refuse it.
Committee chairman councillor Wilma Paterson gave her casting vote to push the amendment through when the vote resulted in a five-all draw.
A second application involving a met mast to the east of Sibbaldbie – recommended for refusal on Monday – was withdrawn.
Wind Energy is wrapped in talks with Historic Scotland which has raised an objection claiming it would have “a significantly adverse impact” on the setting of the protected Scheduled Ancient Monument, Firtree Hill Fort, which dates back to the first Millennium BC.
Opposition to both met masts had also come from Lockerbie Community Council and the lobby group, Trees Not Turbines.
It is known Wind Energy has already submitted a formal scoping application to the Scottish Executive for 125-metre high turbines, with a rotor blade diameter of 90 metres, which would be capable of producing 78 megawatts of electricity, at Newfield.
The company needs two met masts in place as part of the process before seeking full permission for a wind farm.
Jennifer Gordon of consultants Terence O’Rourke Ltd, said they were still hoping to get the second mast erected.
And, she said, that depending on their data, the company could be looking to erect between 40 and 45 turbines.
By Sharon Liptrott
30 March 2007
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