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Campaigners against wind farm to discuss plans

Campaigners against a wind farm will hold a public meeting on Sunday in a bid to “defeat” the plans of a Spanish multinational.

Residents of Closeburn will descend on the village hall at 4pm to discuss Acciona Energy’s plans for a 16-turbine development along the ridgeline between Closeburn and Thornhill at Auchencairn Forest.

Closeburn man Mike Steele said: “With wind farms at Dalswinton, Ae Forest, Daer Reservoir and Abington, we are in danger of creating a new landscape with over 250 wind turbines 15 miles long.

“The Auchencairn turbines will spoil the beauty of the Thornhill Scenic Area and chase away tourists.

“VisitScotland surveys show visitors come here for the natural scenery. Is a turbine natural?

“They will also contribute to a new wind farm landscape with hundreds of turbines stretching from Dalswinton to Abington in Lanarkshire; create noise that destroys Nithsdale’s incredible tranquillity; drastically reduce the habitat for resident Goshawks, owls and other raptors and kill migrating ospreys and geese.”

Mr Steele is urging people who cannot attend the meeting to lodge their objections with the council’s planning department before the deadline of October 28.

He added: “If this wind farm goes ahead, it would also destroy ancient monuments and hill cairns; create severe difficulties for civil aviation radar and low flying military aircraft; make millions for the Spanish company and the London-based absentee landowner and have 1,000 tonnes of concrete under each turbine that will never be removed.”

However, Mike Paffey, senior development manager of Acciona Energy, said: “We believe this site offers one of the best opportunities for developing a project which will help meet our future energy needs from renewable sources.

“We have a proven track record of developing projects sensitively and in close co-operation with local communities.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh-based wind farm developer, Element Power, will be holding a series of public exhibitions in Upper Nithsdale to introduce local people to a proposal for a wind farm on Craigdarroch Farm approximately 4.5km south of Sanquhar.

The exhibitions will take place on October 27 from 4pm to 8pm at Hillview Leisure Centre in Kelloholm; October 28 from 4pm to 8pm at Carronbridge Village Hall; and October 29 from 10am to 2pm at Sanquhar Town Hall.

Rebecca Rankine, Element Power’s project manager, said: “We do hope that as many members of the local community as possible come along to these events to find out more about the wind farm proposal.

“These exhibitions will give local residents the opportunity to meet members of the Element Power project team and express their opinion on the proposal, before a planning application is submitted.”

She added: “The proposed Twentyshilling Hill Wind Farm currently consists of up to nine wind turbines with an installed capacity of up to 27 Megawatts (MW) and has the potential to generate enough electricity to power more than 14,300 homes; the equivalent of approximately 20 per cent of households in Dumfries and Galloway.

“If the wind farm were to be granted planning permission, an amount of £5,000 per MW of installed capacity would be paid annually into a trust fund by Element Power and the money would be split equally between the communities around the site and a regional fund set up by Dumfries and Galloway Council.”