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'A victory for democracy'  

Plans for a controversial wind farm behind Greenock have been blown away.

And protesters hailed the knock-back as victory for local people.

The Scottish Executive has rejected Airtricity’s £40 million proposal to erect 22 turbines at Corlic Hill behind Strone.

Protest group Keep Corlic Wild waged a four-year battle against the 55-megawatt project which would have generated electricity for about 30,000 homes.

They said the 328-feet high turbines were too close to housing and the noise from the blades would have caused health problems.

Keep Corlic Wild chairman, Inverclyde councillor David Wilson, told the Tele: “This is a victory for local democracy.

“The windfarm application came about only because of shabby Scottish Executive planning legislation.”

The Executive says the windfarm may have endangered the safe operation of Glasgow Airport by interfering with radar and could have affected wildlife at Clyde Muirshiel Park.

Energy Minister Jim Mather said the decision followed a lengthy process which involved full scrutiny of the arguments at a public inquiry in March 2005.

He said: “The inquiry Reporter concluded the development would be contrary to the development plan.”

Inverclyde Council unanimously rejected the plan in 2004, but, because the windfarm was over 50 megawatts, the final decision had to be made by the Executive.

Airtricity chief executive Alan Baker said the radar problem could have been solved and there would have been only ‘minimal’ impact on the park.

He said: “We are very disappointed. Our wind farm would have made a considerable impact on Scotland’s renewable targets and contributed significantly to the local and national economy.

“It would have created jobs, not only during the construction stage but in maintenance, and could have had a positive impact on local businesses.

“The local community would also have benefited from a fund for local projects which would have aided the regeneration of the local area.”

Mr Mather said: “We will press on with giving new technologies for generating green energy the support they need. The proposal at Greenock is only a tiny proportion of the potential for renewable energy generation in Scotland.

“There are renewable energy projects currently under consideration by Scottish ministers with the potential to generate up to six gigawatts of electricity.

“While we cannot have onshore windfarms just anywhere or at any price to the environment, it is clear onshore wind will continue to play a crucial role over the next few years.”

by Eric Baxter

Greenock Telegraph

4 August 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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