Campaigners battling to halt plans for a windfarm near Drymen are casting doubt on comments made by the developers.
Local group EVAG (Endrick Valley Action Group), which is campaigning against the proposal for Craigievern/Ard Ghaoth next to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, are questioning recent statements made by developers Banks Renewables in the Observer, and are calling for clarification of others.
EVAG spokesperson, Mary Young, backed claims by other critics of the proposals that the real reason the company recently halved the number of turbines to 10 from their original proposals was a result of planning constraints and nothing to do with “engagement with people living near Ard Ghaoth”.
And she added: “The company said ‘we are delighted to have worked with the people living around our Ard Ghaoth site’, but while Banks may have engaged with the landowners – that is clear from the landowners’ comments – the company has not, however, consulted with people who would be living within two kilometres of the site, some very much closer than that, and for whom there would be no form of recompense for loss of their amenity, confirmed publicly by Banks.
“They also stated that most people living near the site are not opposed to wind farms, however a published survey commissioned by Banks shows that 64 per cent of people in Gartmore, the village nearest the proposed site, objected to the wind farm.
“Their director Colin Anderson stated: ‘By sourcing turbines that are only slightly higher, but significantly more efficient, we can reduce the number on site, while still producing the majority of the energy’. For clarity it should be pointed out that the stated maximum capacity of the 20 turbine wind farm would have been 40 megawatts. The stated maximum capacity of the revised proposal is 25MW, a little over 60 per cent.
“Mr Anderson also stated: ‘As a result of the improved efficiency, we will be able to deliver an enhanced community fund’. We would like clarified just what improved efficiency has led to that enhanced community fund.
“EVAG would like Banks to state, for the benefit of local communities, the anticipated output figures. These are particularly relevant when taking into account the comments from Banks that potential community benefit figures would be based on a percentage of gross revenue. It is also relevant in light of the average on-shore turbine output being 25 per cent of capacity.
“In addition, EVAG wants the community to be made aware of what constraints are on the actual community benefit figure – wind yield, electricity prices, Renewable Obligation Certificate subsidy rates, administration fees, for instance.
“Banks refer to ‘a low impact development’. This proposed wind farm, with turbines higher than those at the Braes of Doune, would have a huge visual impact and would be seen from all major viewpoints such as the Queen’s View and Conic Hill.
“How this can conceivably be described as having ‘low impact’?”
Banks recently announced that their community benefit package for the Ard Ghaoth development could reach £7.2 million and be one of the biggest ever in Scotland to be ploughed into the rural community for the benefit of charities, youth groups and voluntary organisations.
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