People in Lochwinnoch are up in arms over news that wind farms could be erected in the area.
Dr Bill Wilson, SNP MSP for the West of Scotland, has been speaking to local people about their views on the development of wind farms within Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park but has received a very mixed response.
He has written to nearly 2,000 people in the Lochwinnoch area asking for their views on the controversial plan. Around 9,000 hectares of the park were designated as a Special Protection Area at the end of last year because of the rare birds that live there, including hen harriers which have been breeding in the park for the past 50 years.
Of those who responded to the consultation, 28.8 per cent were opposed to any new wind farms within Renfrewshire and 43.7 per cent were opposed to all proposed wind farm developments within the park.
A low figure of 19.3 per cent of people said they support the development of wind farms within the park as long as they are placed away from areas designated to protect wildlife.
Most surprisingly, only 8.1 per cent were happy for wind farms to be placed anywhere within the park.
Bill said: “The response rate was high showing that this is a matter which does concern people.
“There are strong views on both sides of the argument, but importantly, it is imperative that their views are taken in to account for any new development proposals.
More than 70 per cent of those surveyed support wind farm development in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde and almost three quarters were opposed to any development within Clyde Muirshiel, while over 90 per cent were opposed to unrestricted development.
“This clearly shows support for the Scottish Government’s policy on supporting wind farm development, while being sensitive about their location.”
Local councillor Neil Bibby said: “The increased prices and the limited supplies of oil and gas mean that we will need to invest more in renewable energy sources in the coming years.
“Wind power has the ability to play an important part in producing energy and we need to expand its capacity.
“But many local residents are concerned by the negative effects of erecting wind turbines on Regional Parks such as Clyde Muirshiel.
“Less than one half of one per cent of Scotland’s land mass is taken up by Regional Parks so there must be other locations not in Regional Parks that would be appropriate for wind turbines.”
By Angela Murphy
24 July 2008
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