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Wind farm plan is thrown out

Bute and Cowal’s councillors have turned down plans for a 14-turbine wind farm on a south Cowal hill directly opposite Rothesay Bay.

Six councillors on the Bute and Cowal area committee unanimously rejected the proposal by Cowal Wind Energy Ltd to establish a wind farm on Corlarach, capable of generating up to 42 megawatts of electricity.

Some 30 members of the public were present at the Queen’s Hall in Dunoon for the hearing on Tuesday morning, though apart from Peter Wallace, secretary of Bute Community Council, and a reporter from The Buteman, none appeared to have made the journey from Bute.

Though the council’s own planning department recommended that the application be refused, they also received a huge volume of public correspondence on the matter – with the vast majority of responses apparently supporting the plan.

Following the meeting, Bute councillor Len Scoullar,
who seconded a motion from committee chair Bruce Marshall that the application be refused, told us: “I was happy to second acceptance of the department’s recommendation to refuse this application as I feel that Bute and its tourism would have suffered from this intrusion.”

His colleague Isobel Strong added: “I think this was the right decision, and I’m pleased we won’t have this visual intrusion on what is a very prominent site.”

But Rob Tate, development director of Cowal Wind Energy’s parent company, West Coast Energy, told us afterwards: “We are very disappointed at the decision, and we now need to look at what other course of action is open to us to progress this development.

“We feel it is in the right location – we have done our very best to ensure it is sensitively sited, and we believe there would be a more positive impact than a negative impact on tourism in the area.”

By Mike Blair

The Buteman

29 January 2008