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Hundreds hear windfarm debate

Hundreds of residents turned out at meeting to hear about the potential impact of windfarms in the area.

Campaign group Stop Loch Lomond Wind Turbines staged the evening in Gartocharn on Thursday.

Organisers say people travelled from far and wide to hear “a different opinion” about the renewable source of energy.

Currently the Scottish Government is aiming to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of the country’s annual electricity consumption through inexhaustible fuel supplies, like wind and water, by 2020.

But last week Helen McDade, Professor Iain MacLeod and Struan Stevenson MEP, explained what the potential negative impact would have on the economy, wildlife and the surrounding environment.

Sally Page, of Stop Loch Lomond Windfarms, said: “It was brilliant. There was a really good buzz, people came from far and wide which is what we had wanted.

“We wanted to show the village of Gartocharn who have been struggling with the opposition of the wind farm that there were actually hundreds of people out there who are living in communities that are battling with these windfarms and that they should have a closer look at this. People were really listening what the speakers were saying and I think a lot of them were worried by what they heard.

“I think there’s a feeling we are not being heard. We have shown Gartocharn that this is a huge issue for concern.

“People can make up their own minds but at least now they have some more information from some very credible speakers. They can take that home and hopefully something can come from it.”

Plans for Lomond Energy’s prospective 10 wind turbine site – to be situated at Merkins Farm on Auchenreoch Muir – are expected to be submitted to West Dunbartonshire Council for determination this month.

The company says it will take measures to ensure that the economic benefits of the proposal are retained and within West Dunbartonshire as far as possible.

Steve Macken, of Lomond Energy, said: “At 9am on January 3 we recorded a peak wind speed on Dumbarton Muir of 113mph, but throughout December there were several occasions when Merkins Windfarm, if built, would have produced more electricity than the domestic needs of the whole of West Dunbartonshire.”

“Whilst Struan Stevenson is entitled to his opinion, he has a well established track record of presenting mis-information to the public in substantiating his anti-windfarm stance and has little support even from his own political party on the matter.

“At a local level however, his involvement in the meeting raises questions as to what business a Tory MEP has in interfering with the democratic process in West Dunbartonshire, especially in a village which has already demonstrated its support for our project at Merkins Farm and its commitment to the prospect of owning a part of it to generate revenue for local projects.”