September 1, 2010

Action group planned to fight Wigtown Bay windfarm

by Doug Archibald, Galloway News, 19 August 2010

The fight to have controversial windfarm plans nipped in the bud will be stepped up next week.

An action group to spearhead the campaign against the “turbine too far” offshore development in Wigtown Bay will be finalised on Wednesday night.

Keep Wigtown Bay Natural already has a website up and running.

The Wigtown County Buildings venue is expected to be packed out for a meeting that will finalise the composition of the group.

A petition against the development is circulating throughout the area. An online version has already had 1,800 visits and been signed by some 270 people.

Now a senior SNP MSP has joined the clamour against the proposals by Danish firm Dong Energy. Alasdair Morgan said he is “very concerned” about the Wigtown Bay plan.

His comments follow pressure from Galloway and Upper Nithsdale MSP Alex Fergusson which led to the Scottish Government extending the consultation deadline until the end of September.

The man who has organised the online petition, Michael Marshall from Isle of Whithorn, believes 90 turbines will go up in the 52 square kilometre site that will be less than four miles off shore at its closest.

“I think the big surprise for folk like Alex Fergusson and Alasdair Morgan has been the way in which this has been put forward by Marine Scotland in particular,” he said.

“It was very apparent from the briefing meeting held in Wigtown that one thing they had not taken on board was people and the community.

“The strategic environmental assessment was very strong on wildlife but people didn’t feature.

“If this is going to be the way consultations are carried out it doesn’t augur well.”

Mr Marshall said he felt there was almost an air of hostility amongst the audience at the briefing in Wigtown.

The close proximity to land is one of the main concerns.

“This is an area enjoyed by visitors for its beauty; part of a national scenic area; people don’t want to come here to look at windmills,” he said.

“There’s also the effects it would have on scallop and prawn fishing.

“It’s really a turbine too far.”

South of Scotland MSP Mr Morgan, in his submission to the consultation, said: “In the first place, the available plans suggest that it would be located very close to the shore indeed, perhaps as little as 1.5 miles offshore.

“That is far closer to land than Robin Rigg.

“Not only that, the strategic environmental assessment supplied with the proposal raises far more concerns that it resolves.

“It mentions potential damage to areas of high visual and seascape character and also potentially to birds and mammals.

“Of no less importance are the concerns raised over commercial fishing and recreational angling, both of which contribute to the local economy.”

The Keep Wigtown Bay Natural website is at

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