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Harbourmaster calls for Wigtown Bay windfarm to be scrapped  

Credit:  by Doug Archibald, Galloway News, icdumfries.icnetwork.co.uk 16 September 2010 ~~

A Harbour Master has called for offshore wind farm plans to be scuppered.

Kirkcudbright port boss Peter Roberts condemned the proposals, for as many as 90 massive turbines in Wigtown Bay, as “dangerous”.

Mr Roberts is worried that the development by Danish firm Dong Energy which has found favour with Marine Scotland, will be slap bang in the shipping lanes used by pleasure craft.

And he reckons it will be a massive inconvenience to busy Kirkcudbright Harbour which has thousands of “boat movements” every year.

He is also worried about the effects it would have on commercial fishing.

Mr Roberts joins a long list of critics pressuring the Scottish Government to wipe the proposals from its draft plan for offshore wind energy development.

The Scottish Government extended the public consultation period over the Wigtown Bay plans in the face of snowballing protest.

MPs, MSPs, councillors and people living around the bay have been queuing up to condemn the plans.

And expanding pressure group, Keep Wigtown Bay Natural, has accused the Crown Estates of “sleeping on the job”.

Chairman Michael McCreath said: “I find it extraordinary that the Crown Estate, which has been involved in all the offshore wind farms in UK waters, allowed the Wigtown Bay proposal to get off the ground when it is in clear breach of guidelines which state windfarms should not come within eight kilometres of the coast.

“The centre of the site is only 6.2km from land, while the closest turbines will be less than 4km from the coast.”

Mr Roberts’ views will be presented to Stewartry Area Committee on Monday night.

In his submission, Mr Roberts points out the development “appears” to be directly in the path of vessels travelling west from Kircudbright harbour.

“It appears to lie directly in the path of vessels navigating from Kirkcudbright to the Isle of Whithorn and from Kirkcudbright to Garlieston,” he says.

“A wind farm in this location will create a significant navigational hazard to vessels.”

Mr Roberts says small leisure vessels tend to use the coasts when in the Solway.

“Any blocking of these passages along the coasts would have a significant effect on the safe passage of small craft in the Solway.

“This is why the site of the Robin Rigg development has had no serious impact on the passage of small craft.

“The site at Wigtown Bay will have serious impact on small vessels in the Solway.”

Mr Roberts is also concerned about the “well fished prawn pitch right under the proposed development”.

He said: “This is currently being fished by small vessels from both sides of the Solway.

“There are also lobster boats which lay creels in the vicinity of the propose site.

“With my knowledge of the movement of small vessels within the Solway and from a practical navigational viewpoint, I would say that the current development on Robin Rigg was a ‘right place’ and the proposed development at Wigtown Bay was a ‘wrong place’.

“I believe the Wigtown Bay site should be removed from the plan.”

Mr Roberts added: “I think its a danger to navigation and a major inconvenience to the harbour.”

Source:  by Doug Archibald, Galloway News, icdumfries.icnetwork.co.uk 16 September 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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