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Still wild at heart

Campaigners against the proposed Greenock windfarm say they are hugely relieved it has been stopped.

The Scottish Executive announced on Friday they were refusing Airtricity’s £40 million plan to erect 22 turbines at Corlic Hill behind Strone.

The Executive say the 55-megawatt windfarm may have endangered the safe operation of Glasgow Airport by interfering with radar and would have affected Clyde Muirshiel Park.

Some of the people who waged a four-year campaign against it gathered near Corlic Hill on Saturday to celebrate their victory.

Mick Thomson, vice-chairman of protest group Keep Corlic Wild, lives at the top of Luss Avenue only 800m from where the nearest 328-foot high turbine would have been erected.

He said: “I was worried about the noise from the turbines and the sight of all those towers all over the hill.

“I’m a proud Greenockian and the last thing I want visitors to see is a hill full of wind turbines.”

Group chairman, David Wilson, who was elected to Inverclyde Council in May, said: “It was a bad application and I was always confident we would win.”

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.

A public inquiry was held in March 2005 and its 150-page report was delivered to the Executive in September that year for consideration by Energy Minister Allan Wilson, who lost his seat at May’s elections.

Criticising the delay in announcing a decision, David Wilson said: “It confirmed my worst impression of the Executive and its ability to make decisions.”

Trevor and Hilary Graham of the Ramblers’ Association Scotland’s Inverclyde group, said the turbines would have ruined the skyline.

Airtricity chief executive Alan Baker maintained the Glasgow Airport radar problem could have been solved and there would have been only minimal impact on the park.

By Eric Baxter

Greenock Telegraph

6 August 2007