PROPOSALS for a small windfarm on the outskirts of a Stewartry village have been unveiled to the local community.
Natural Power Consultants Ltd (NPC) want to build two turbines at Doon Hill, overlooking Kirkgunzeon.
An application has also been submitted to the council for a similar scheme to be carried out at Barnbackle Hill, near Lochfoot.
Each of the four turbines would be taller than Big Ben and be visible from the A75 and A711.
The windfarms would also be seen from Shawhead, Beeswing, Springholm, Haugh of Urr, Milton, Crocketford and Dumfries.
Some local residents concerned at the plans set up the Kirkgunzeon Environmental Protection Group at the beginning of last year.
There are fears that if the council gives the go-ahead to these projects, more windfarms could follow.
NPC director, Jeremy Sainsbury, insisted these schemes would be the only ones built in the area by the company.
But he conceded that there was nothing stopping other renewable energy firms coming in with bids.
A public meeting was held at Kirkgunzeon Village Hall recently with an open forum allowing residents to have their say.
“It was a good gathering,” Mr Sainsbury told the ‘News’. “A number of people were interested in hearing how the project was getting on.
“Whenever you get a project of this nature, people are eager to understand how it might work.
“A number of questions regarding access to the site, potential noise and visual impact were raised.
“We have an open relationship with the community council and are happy to go along and update them.”
He added: “We started out with 40 potential sites in Dumfries and Galloway for this project.
“We whittled those down to two, the sites now proposed, by working with Scottish Natural Heritage and the planning authorities.
“We feel that if these projects were to move forward, we would not propose any more in these areas.
“But we can’t say that there will never be another application.”
Both windfarms would produce between 4-5MW of electrical generation and would be up and running by 2010-11 if planning permission is granted this year.
A resident’s plea to site the project offshore – as a possible extension to the Solway Firth’s Robin Rigg windfarm scheme – was rejected by Mr Sainsbury.
He said: “That project is now funded with the turbines ordered so it is a bit impractical.”
Residents were told that the Kirkgunzeon area could receive a cash boost as part of a future community windfarm benefit if the projects got the green light.
Kirkgunzeon Community Council chair, Alan Crichton, confirmed that “numerous” representations had been made to the local authority regarding the schemes.
But when asked if the village was largely opposed to the windfarm, he said “no-one is in a position to answer that question objectively.”
BY COLIN PATERSON
Jan 3 2008
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