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Protected species could bring down wind farm

Windfarm protesters Fran Raw and Dr Angela Armstrong told last week’s meeting of Port William Community Council that the identification of “20 EU protected species” around the proposed site of a windfarm locally could help them stop the development going ahead.

The ladies are both members of the Airyquhillart Wind Farm Protest Group dedicated to stopping renewable energy giants EDF building an 18-turbine wind farm on land to the north of the village, near to Barrachan, around half way between Port William and Kirkcowan.

The group have used leaflets, social media sites and the local press to showcase their campaign and keep local residents “up to date”. Referring to the 136.5 metre high proposed turbines, Mrs Raw said: “People are amazed how big the turbines are going to be.”

The protest group say turbines at that location would have a “huge negative effect on the area, residents, farm animals and wildlife.”

The also question the sense in EDF using the B7005 road as the favoured route to transport the turbines into the site as the surface of that road is badly in need of repair. The two protesters also warned that the effects on businesses and the local tourist trade could be “catastrophic”. But they added that their research had discovered the 20 protected species around the site and that would have to taken into consideration and addresses by EDF.

When told by a member of the community council that they “didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of stopping it”, Dr Armstrong replied; “We can’t allow people to tramp all over us”.

She also commented on the effect that windfarms could allegedly have on the physical wellbeing of those close to them.

“As a GP I an very concerned about the health of the community as there is more and more evidence coming to light about this.”

Members of the group were due to meet with representatives of EDF Energy Renewables yesterday to air their objections.

Ahead of yesterday’s meeting Christian Egal, Chief Executive Officer of EDF Energy Renewables, said: “We view consultation as a vital part of the planning process.

“EDF Energy Renewables is keen to develop commercially viable windfarms and it is important to ensure that local residents, community groups, businesses and all stakeholders with an interest in the Airriequhillart proposals are provided with every opportunity to view and comment on the proposed wind farm, and importantly, engage with EDF-ER throughout the planning process.

“This feedback, coupled with the detailed and comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that examines all the potential environmental effects during the construction, operation and decommissioning of the wind farm, is crucial in developing the design and layout of a future planning application for the site.

“We welcome the invitation and opportunity to meet with members of the Airriequhillart Wind Farm Protest Group, and hope that this is the first of many constructive discussions that we will have with the group and its members going forward.”