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Windfarm woe for Carrick residents

Concerned Carrick residents have come together to arm themselves with the facts in the fight against wind farms.

More than 30 individuals gathered at Girvan Academy on August 9 for a presentation organised by Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS).

The meeting aimed to inform people about the sheer number of applications and turbines sites in the planning stages in the Ayrshire and Galloway area, and welcomed some high profile political figures among their ranks.

CATS activist Susan Crosthwaite welcomed her audience, and stressed: “We are not an anti-windfarm group. We are about helping people whose lives have been badly affected.”

As the owner of Ballantrae bed and breakfast Cosses Country House Susan stated her hope that Ayrshire and Galloway’s new UNESCO Biosphere status will “protect us from some of the turbines”.

“Many tourist routes will go through the turbines if we do not do something about it,” she said.

Presenters at the meeting including Stuart Young, who had travelled over 300 miles from Caithness to inform his audience about the cost of wind power and its effect on the average electricity bill.

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson and MEP for Scotland Struan Stevenson also gave presentations, Mr Stevenson on offshore wind – which he termed “intermittent, inefficient and catastrophic for marine mammals, seabirds and fish” – and Mr Pearson on fuel poverty.

Both had hard-hitting messages for those who still believe that what Mr Stevenson termed a “mad policy” of wind power is working.

“By the time we realise our mistake it might already be too late,” Mr Pearson said. “I hope that in 20 years time I can say I was wrong and I should not have been questioning any of these things, but I thought that 10 years ago and it has not happened yet.”

At the end of the meeting John Cross, from Drymen, near Loch Lomond, told the Carrick Gazette: “I have been to several CATS meetings and I think they are doing a good job providing information about what it going on.

“We can use these in producing arguments against these turbines.”

One couple from Kilwinning, who face having a wind turbine built 60 metres from their home, said: “This is all driven by big business in our opinion. There is a total lack of accountability. We feel totally disenfranchised.”

According to June data there are three operating windfarms, three in the scoping stages and six more planned in South Ayrshire alone, while Dumfries and Galloway has eight developments at various stages.

Last week the Scottish Government also approved the 11-turbine Glenchamber windfarm, despite it having been rejected by Dumfries and Galloway Council last year.

Councillor Alec Oattes for Girvan and South Carrick, who attended the CATS meeting, said: “While not anti-windfarm in my own mind I do believe that here in South Carrick we have reached a point where we have our share of wind farm development, and enough is enough.”