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Windfarm plan is blown off course

A 15-turbine windfarm development in south Carrick is expected to be rejected tomorrow by South Ayrshire councillors as it would spoil the landscape.

A decision will be made by members of the Regulatory Panel at County Buildings – and council officers have recommended the application be rejected owing to the cumulative impact the development would have in the area.

The applicant, Wind Prospect, has been working in the area for more than three years on the Breaker Hill project, which would see 15 turbines erected on agricultural land near the A714 at Pinwherry.

However, the plans were met with morethan 700 objections from local residents and organisations, who argued that area has reached its capacity for windfarms and there would be greater implications to the area should it go ahead.

Should the decision be made to refuse the application, it may mean an end for any further developments in south Carrick as the report recognises the impact that the Breaker Hill windfarm would have on the landscape.

Campaigners have long argued that the area has reached saturation point, and they will welcome this decision by the Regulatory Panel, should it back the recommendation from council officers.

The report explains: “The proposed Breaker Hill wind- farm is contrary to the principles of the Biosphere Park and would damage a special area of conservation.

“The area is important for protected flora and fauna, including bats, buzzards, skylarks, red squirrels and badgers. RSPB studies indicate that the site is used by breeding birds and that construction activity would also damage the spawning areas of salmon and trout. The proposal will not safeguard or enhance national heritage, part of which is a wildlife site. The windfarm would be between sites designated for their nationally important nature conservation interest.”

The report also questions the output of wind energy, arguing that the area already has enough and calls for other renewable sources to be looked at.

It continues: “Turbines are not efficient, generating electricity at 30 per cent efficiency at best, and the manufacturing process of the turbines outweighs any advantage they may have in reducing carbon dioxide during operation.

“Other forms of renewable energy should be considered instead. Solar and hydro power are more viable.

“It is not reasonable to expect south-west Scotland to provide so much wind power when there is already enough capacity to achieve the 50 per cent renewable target by 2020 if consented farms are constructed as anticipated.

“The output from Breaker Hill is a drop in the ocean regarding renewable energy targets. More effort should be placed on encouraging efficient energy use instead of generating more.

“Because there is no absolute evidence that turbines are safe, South Ayrshire Council should refuse the application.”