A failed battle to stop the development of a Galloway windfarm could cost the taxpayer nearly £400,000.
It was announced this week by the Scottish Government that plans for 23, 365-foot turbines at Blackcraig near New Galloway have been given the go-ahead.
The council had been involved in a seven-year battle to stop the development, forking out for legal fees and a public inquiry with the final bill expected to be high.
In September 2007 the local authority’s finance sub-committee were told that a public inquiry to fight the project going ahead could cost as much as £387,000.
But yesterday a council spokesman told the Standard it would be “inappropriate to comment” on costs at this stage because they hadn’t yet received the detailed report on the inquiry.
It took more than a year after the end of the council’s public inquiry into the development for a decision to be made.
During the planning process more than 500 objections to the development were sent to the local authority, along with 66 letters of support.
Stewartry Area Committee voted against the plans in 2006 – a decision upheld by the council in 2007 despite officials having recommended the scheme for approval.
It was also revealed this week that plans for a windfarm at Wigtown Bay had been rejected.
The development would have seen 90 turbines built across shipping lanes, the closest less than four miles off shore.
And a plan to extend the Robin Rigg windfarm in the Solway was also ditched.
The plans were dropped from the Government’s offshore wind energy plans.
Up to 60 jobs will be created during the construction of the windfarm at Blackcraigs and SSE say it will generate 69 megawatts and power 32,000 homes.
The announcement has split opinion.
Galloway Landscape and Renewable Energy (GLARE) was set up in 2004 to oppose the plans.
GLARE member Alison Chapman said: “We remains convinced that the Blackcraig proposal will prove environmentally damaging, that it will do little to reduce carbon emissions and that it will be an erratic and intrusive industrial generator imposed within an area of outstanding natural beauty.
“GLARE now has to seriously question the purpose of any concerned local residents taking part in such a process, when a minority central government is able ultimately to override a local democratic decision.”
However Roland Chaplain of Glenkens Sustainable Development Group believes the development will be positive.
He said: “Of course there is an environmental price to pay but it is small relative to the price we will all have to pay for the squandering of the world’s non-renewable resources by previous and present generations.”
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