The threat of a huge windfarm overshadowing an Ayrshire stargazing observatory has sparked anger nationally from a leading Scottish astronomer and conservation charities.
The Astronomer Royal for Scotland John Brown has said putting turbines next to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory in Dalmellington is like building a factory in Glen Coe.
And Craigengillan Estate owner Mark Gibson, who owns the land where the observatory is sited, said Vattenfall’s proposed wind farm would taint visitors’ experiences to the world class attraction.
A number of windfarm companies want to erect turbines in the area including Vattenfall, which plans to put up 50 turbines spanning nearly 150 metres at the South Kyle wind farm.
Professor Brown said: “There is a place for windfarms in our national energy mix but they should not be sited in the Dark Sky Park. We should be seeking to protect the wonderful dark skies of the Galloway Forest above the world-leading Scottish Dark Sky Observatory. Installing any large structures that require illumination would be akin to putting a factory in Glen Coe or electricity pylons along the Cullin Ridge.
“Our First Minister was instrumental in helping to secure funding for the observatory and he opened it with much passion and aplomb in October last, praising Scotland for leading the world with this fine public and educational facility. But Mr Salmond is also an ardent advocate of wind farms and so faces a dilemma.”
Professor Brown, the John Muir Trust and Scottish Wild Land Group have sent a letter to the Scottish Government asking them to ban wind farms in the Galloway Dark Sky Park – famed for low light pollution.
Former UK country person of the year Mr Gibson said the view from the observatory on his land currently boasts uninterrupted skyline.
He said: “The observatory is an incredibly precious asset for Ayrshire, which was recognised by Alex Salmond when he opened it. Nothing should be done to reduce its potential.
“Dalmellington is completely united against the windfarm proposal. It seems unbelievable that a foreign owned company with no connections to the area can make proposal, which would completely destroy the future people have worked so hard to achieve.”
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