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Wind farm goes to public inquiry

The developer behind the plans for a wind farm opposite Rothesay Bay has appealed against local councillors’ decision to refuse planning permission for the project.

Cowal Wind Energy Ltd, based in Mold, Flintshire, submitted an appeal against the unanimous decision of Bute and Cowal councillors to reject plans for a 14-turbine wind farm on Corlarach Hill.

The application will now be dealt with be a public inquiry later in the year, though a decision on who will appear at the inquiry, and when and where it will take place, is expected soon.

Members of Argyll and Bute Council’s Bute and Cowal area committee all agreed to turn down the application by Cowal Wind Energy – a subsidiary of West Coast Energy Ltd – after a lengthy hearing at the Queen’s Hall in Dunoon in January.

The application attracted an avalanche of letters both for and against the plans in particular and wind power in general.

A total of 942 responses were received, of which 745 were letters of support, though many of those were in the form of standard letters.

Objectors’ suspicions grew when it was revealed that most of the expressions of support came from addresses outside Bute and Cowal – with some coming from as far afield as Mississauga in Ontario, Solignac in the Limousin region of France and a box number in Dubai – and that many appeared to have been gathered in a short spell on the Saturday afternoon of the Cowal Highland Gathering in August 2007.

Around half of the 197 letters of objection were also in a standard form, though the overwhelming majority of objections came from addresses in Bute, Cowal or elsewhere in Argyll.

By Craig Borland

The Buteman

18 June 2008