A company planning an £18 million windfarm near Strathaven have been accused of being “mischievous” for publishing a survey concerning the development.
Donald Greirson, treasurer of Strathaven Community Council, was speaking after Banks Renewables claimed the “independent research” showed a high level of support of the windfarm.
An application for the scheme was lodged with the Scottish Government earlier this year after completing a range of assessments.
Banks is proposing to build a wind farm which includes 26 turbines with a maximum tip height of 132 metres.
Banks commissioned a market research firm to carry out a telephone survey of households in and around the area.
They say almost 1000 residents responded to the survey, which revealed a little less than half (44 per cent) of them were in favour of the plans and just over a third (37 per cent) held a neutral opinion.
Fewer than one in five respondents (19 per cent) said they were against the scheme, and more than 300 of those who backed the plans also said they willing to express their support for the windfarm to the Scottish Government and South Lanarkshire Council.
The site of the proposed Kype Muir Windfarm is in an area designated for renewable energy schemes and about two miles south of Strathaven on land currently used for commercial forestry.
Colin Anderson, director at Banks Renewables, said: “The opinions that this survey revealed, plus the lengths we have gone to over the last two years to work with local people around the design of the Kype Muir scheme has been worthwhile for all parties involved.”
Strathaven Community Council are, however, against the scheme.
They have raised issues relating to proximity of homes, visual impact and flicker noise caused by the blades.
A spokesman said: “These issues, among others, have not been fully discussed, but for Banks to imply that they have received a high level of support from residents and Strathaven Comunity Council is a concern.
“Their telephone survey was based on their own PR advertising campaign, their own publications and was full of their own loaded questions.
“A proper community public opinion poll has not yet been completed.”
Treasurer, Donald Greirson, added: “Banks are being a bit mischievous in issuing this press release at this time when South Lanarkshire Council have yet to respond to the application.
“The meetings that Banks have held with the four community councils (Strathaven, Stonehouse, Sandford and Upper Avondale and Lesmahagow) have covered some details of their proposal, however, the presentations have concentrated mainly around Banks’ proposals for the community benefit fund.
“Discussions are on-going and there is a further meeting arranged between the community councils and council representatives who administer renewable energy funds and Banks.”
The 26-turbine windfarm, according to Banks, would have an installed capacity of up to 104MW, enough to meet the annual energy requirements of approximately 50,000 homes.
Around 50 people would be employed on site during the construction of the Kype Muir project, with Banks looking to put tenders worth around £17m out to the Scottish construction industry to complete the work.
Banks has committed to gifting a share of the project revenues to the community, if the proposal is approved.
This would provide around £6.5m of funding over the 25-year lifetime of the scheme for local community groups, environmental and voluntary projects.
For further information on the Kype Muir proposal contact the Banks project team on 0844 209 1515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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