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Executive faces turbine decision  

A public inquiry report on a controversial windfarm proposal for Ae Forest will be with the Scottish Executive this month.

Ministers must decide if the 71-turbine development will get the go-ahead.

The proposal from CRE Energy Limited went to an inquiry last year after Dumfries and Galloway Council rejected the scheme.

The executive was originally scheduled to receive the report in the spring with a view to making a decision last month.

The report was delayed but Dumfries MSP Elaine Murray was told this week that it is expected to be with ministers later this month.

Dr Murray, who opposes the plans, fears that the scheme will get approval.

She said: “I am supportive of off shore wind developments in appropriate locations, however I have always had strong reservations about the Harestanes proposals, as I believe a wind turbine development of this size would be detrimental to other activities in the Ae forest.

“I also believe that the proposed windfarm would be visually intrusive as it could be seen from many parts of my constituency.”

Dr Murray added: “I advised Scottish Ministers in the previous administration of my concerns about the proposals.

“I fear, however, that the current Scottish administration’s antagonism to new nuclear development will make it more difficult for them to turn down windfarm proposals.”

The first plans for the Harestanes scheme were submitted four years ago.

They were subsequently modified and in 2005 Dumfries and Galloway Council decided against supporting the proposal to introduce 411 feet high turbines at Harestanes Heights.

Both Nithsdale and Annandale and Eskdale area regulatory committees rejected the application, in the wake of strong opposition from members of the public, which led to the public inquiry last year.

Scottish Executive Reporter David Gordon looked at the Harestanes scheme alongside another for a 161-turbine windfarm by Airtricity on the Upper Clyde.

He was due to report back in the spring.

Dr Murray put a written question to the executive recently asking for an explanation for the delay.

She said: “This has been a very protracted process. I am surprised that it is taking so long for the Scottish Executive to receive the results of this inquiry.”

Dumfries & Galloway Standard

6 June 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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