Access issues to the site of a proposed new windfarm are proving to be an ill wind for some Carron Valley residents.
The Craigengelt windfarm proposals are already believed to have caused a split in the local community council, with some members resigning and setting up their own group to look into the benefits to the community if the development goes ahead.
Critics, however, say the infrastructure involved in transporting the equipment and construction workers required for the eight-turbine development is set to cause chaos.
The windfarm would take six months to build, with components delivered over a two month period in a convoy and under escort in 64 abnormal loads travelling from the M9 junction 9, south on the A872 then turning west onto the C55 at Auchenbowie.
At the end of the C55 at Kingsburgh, a new five metre wide and 618 metre long access track (for turbine components only) would be built across a silage field to join the C10 New Line Road at Chartershall.
All other construction traffic will travel north on the A872 turning west at Pirnhall and then south on the C10 New Line Road.
A Carron Valley Community Council spokesperson said: “The temporary road would be there at least for the 25 year life expectancy of the windfarm. Then there are the arrangements for using the New Line Road which are not ideal.
“The volume of traffic over the six month construction period will rise significantly and the roads network is used by horses, cyclists, walkers and children. Businesses will also be disrupted by all this.
“The majority of people in Auchenbowie didn’t know about the situation because there weren’t notified.”
Borestone Community Council chairman Jim Bruce said they too had concerns about increased traffic, particularly on the New Line Road.
He added: “This could have a knock on effect on the whole local roads network and we will looking into the implications.”
Operations director of windfarm developers Scotia Wind Renewables Dominic Farrugia said the company had been heavily involved in a series of public meetings, workshops, exhibitions and newsletters since last September, during which a dedicated contact number (0845 130 3844) for concerned residents had been running.
“As consultation is an ongoing process we have continued to meet residents on a monthly basis and indeed we wrote to the recently re-established Carron Valley Community Council to again present the plans and listen to concerns.
“At that meeting clear information was given on estimated vehicle numbers along with a rational explanation as to why Scotia Wind intends to use the C55 public road.
“This route allows the turbines to be delivered in the least inconvenient way to the largest number of Carron Valley residents. Our planning application, which is currently being examined by Stirilng Council, explicitly states only 64 turbine loads will use the C55 over a two month period.
“A security presence will be in place at the A872/C55 junction and also at Kingburgh/Chartershall during the construction period to ensure general construction traffic does not use the C55.
“We would anticipate and indeed support a condition placed upon us to this effect by Stirling Council. We have also voluntarily committed to pre-commencement condition surveys on the C10 and C55, on all residential properties along the route and to provide adequate financial cover to repair any damage caused to either.
“We’ve also asked the community council to nominate a key community liaison person to represent the community at our regular project meetings and help communicate times of abnormal vehicle movements.
“We do understand people’s concerns but we believe we have taken every practical step to communicate our intentions and to limit the inconvenience.
“It is impossible to build a project like Craigengelt without construction traffic and residents within the community council boundary stand to benefit substantially.”
3 October 2007
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