March 15, 2013

Cut to number of planned turbines near Straiton

By David Walker | Carrick Gazette | 15 March 2013 |

A windfarm developer is to cut the number of wind turbines in its plans for a development near Straiton after listening to local residents’ concerns.

WilloWind Energy had sought the views of the local community in advance of the submission of a planning application for a project to create a wind farm with 29 turbines near the village of Straiton.

But after holding a public exhibition on the plans in January and considering the responses from residents, the company is now looking to change both the number and locations of the turbines.

The revised layout will now see 25 turbines on the site, with turbine nearest to Straiton to be relocated more than 2km south west from the village to fully comply with the Scottish Government’s guideline on a 2km separation distance between turbines and town/villages.

The information on the revised plans is being circulated to all stakeholders and interested parties, including all residents who provided contact details at the January public exhibition in Straiton.

Martin Davie, CEO of WilloWind Energy, said the new plans reflect a well designed scheme that fully takes into account the large amount of local consultation.

He said: “We take community concerns very seriously and have sought to involve local people, politicians and interested parties to progress this development with sensitivity.

“We have been totally transparent in outlining our proposal and in recognising the Scottish Government’s policy on a 2km separation distance between turbines and town/villages, although it should be stressed this is a guide not a rule.

“Some of the people we spoke to felt three of the turbines were just a bit too close to the village. So we’ve taken the positive decision to remove them from the application.

“This means there will be no turbines within two kms of the village. We believe this will counter the main issues of concern with this proposal.

“It is a clear endorsement of what we said we’d do – that is to listen to the views of the community to help us determine the final shape of our planning application to the Scottish Government.

“I also hope this media statement clarifies any confusion that may have been caused in the local community over the 2km separation distance between the turbines and Straiton that stems from inaccurate information attributed to WilloWind Energy in a recent article in The Daily Telegraph.

“In addition to generating significant amounts of renewable energy, which would make a major contribution towards meeting Scotland’s renewable targets, this project would also bring a range of other benefits to the local area, from new jobs and commercial opportunities for local businesses through to funding for a range of community benefits.”

WilloWind Energy hopes to submit a formal planning application, which will detail the revised layout, to the Scottish Government within the next six weeks.

Mr Davie also said he doubted whether concerns from residents about a possible five planning applications for wind farms around Straiton would be borne out.

He said: “A great deal of careful planning and consultation has gone into ensuring the Linfairn wind farm has minimal negative impact and brings a real and lasting benefit to the local community.

“Our project is the next application to be considered by Scottish Government but I would be very surprised if we see plans progress for all five applications for wind farms in the area.”

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