March 8, 2013

Councillor thinks some community councils not reviewing windfarm applications properly

Mar 7 2013 by Andrew McNair, Galloway News |

A Stewartry councillor has urged community councils to take a long, hard look at all windfarm applications.

Finlay Carson, pictured, is worried some may be writing off turbine plans without a proper review simply because they oppose such developments.

And he warned that could rule them out of the final planning process.

The Glenkens councillor said: “By having a default position of opposing all windfarm developments the community council will be deemed to have prejudged any application and in effect excluded themselves from taking part in the planning process.

“In various informal discussions I have found that the majority of people I have spoken to are not opposed to windfarms in principle – but would object if they thought they would be too large or in an inappropriate location with regards to the landscape.”

He also warned that any community council taking a default position on windfarms, for or against, in the area was not doing its job properly.

Councillor Carson added: “In my opinion it is very difficult to take a community-wide decision on any single issue. An all-inclusive consultation would need to be carried out and not just hold a public meeting to gauge opinion.

“Unfortunately you tend to get people with the loudest voices and strongest views dominating meetings of this type and not necessarily a true reflection of the community’s stance. There may well be people in the community who are in favour of wind development for any number of environmental or economic reasons, perhaps simply to take advantage of the windfarm community benefit fund.

“If the council have already made up their minds on every application they are not open to the debate of opinions of some of the people they are elected to represent.”

Twynholm Community Council for example admit they dislike the idea of windfarms in their area but insist they play by the rules.

Councillor David Duncan said: “We are not keen on them but we take each proposal and look at it on an individual basis.”

Applications for windfarms are continuing to flood the council’s planning department and councillor Carson warned of a possible turbine overkill in the region.

He added: “Dumfries and Galloway needs to take into consideration the accumulative impact of windfarms right across the region.

“There are many small, medium and large projects in the planning stage and I would hate to wake up one day to discover that we have a landscape covered in turbines which would be to the detriment of our tourist trade.”

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