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Late bid to block wind farm fails

A last minute bid has failed to overturn a council decision to back a controversial wind farm.

Tory council Peter Convery had hoped to persuade 20 of South Ayrshire’s 30 councillors to back his move to withdraw support for the Dersalloch wind farm proposal.

But his plan was rejected when only 14 of his fellow councillors voted with him.

He said: “I am really disappointed. This is a huge issue for Ayrshire and one which deserved to be discussed at a public inquiry.

“Because of this decision this will not happen. Thousands of people who objected this application, including Prestwick Airport, have been let down.”

Airport boss Mark Rodwell insists that he’s bitterly disappointed by the decision.

He explained: “We remain strongly opposed to the proposed wind farm at Desalloch as nothing has currently been identified which would mitigate its effect on our air traffic control systems.

“We are very disappointed that South Ayrshire Council has not taken this opportunity to reconsider its position on Dersalloch, however we are grateful for the efforts of some councillors in supporting our position.

“We were hopeful members would recognise the need to revisit the issue as important information is now available which was not brought to the planning committee’s attention when it met on April 3.”

All 14 of Labour councillors and Maybole’s Independent councillor Brian Connolly voted in favour of rejecting Councillor Convery’s motion to suspend the council’s standing orders.

The move would have meant that new information could have been considered and an official objection lodged with the Scottish Executive, prompting a public inquiry into the impact of the 26 turbine plan by Scottish Power at the site between Straiton and Dalmellington.

However, the decision means that the application will now go direct to the executive for a final decision.

And Mr Rodwell warned that the plan could have a massive impact on the economic future of Ayrshire if it is approved.

He added: “Should restrictions need to be placed on air space management arrangements in future because of wind farms, it will seriously damage Ayrshire’s future as the airport is crucial for economic growth, employment and inward investment.

“Despite today’s outcome and the current lack of appropriate mitigation, we will continue our dialogue with the developer in an effort to find a solution.”

Labour group leader, councillor Douglas Campbell, defended the decision.

He said: “We have put a planning advice note with the application which effectively means that if Prestwick Airport doesn’t withdraw its objection the application will be stymied. We have made this very clear to the Scottish Executive.

“The Scottish Executive won’t grant development rights unless the airport comes to some kind of resolution with Scottish Power in this matter. There is no question that this will impact on air safety or the future development of the airport.”


2 May 2007