More than 3000 letters of objection were this week officially lodged against one of five proposed windfarms around Straiton.
And Save Straiton for Scotland chairman Bill Steven personally delivered the objections to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit in Glasgow.
The SSfS website this week proclaims: “Let’s pull together for this last stretch and kick this ridiculous planning application straight back to those greedy investors in London and Switzerland and show them we mean business.”
The campaign has pulled out all the stops to provide detailed responses to what it calls an ‘inappropriate, invasive and unacceptable’ bid for 25 turbines
Bill Steven said: “Our objection document is a robust, powerful and revealing insight in to how inappropriate the Linfairn application is.
“And it covers the key areas around planning, landscape assessment, noise and tourism, as well as a section focusing on the developer WilloWind.”
SSfS reckons the company has shown ‘a blatant and continual disregard of guidelines’ on community engagement. And it points to ‘clear misrepresentations made by WilloWind’.
Mr Steven said: “They claimed to have listened to the public and reduced the number of turbines from 29 to 25. But their original scoping document was for 25 – so there’s no reduction.
“WilloWind also claims to be a windfarm operator, without ever having operated a single turbine.”
Mr Steven said WilloWind chief executive Martin Davie treated community concerns with ‘complete disdain’ at a consultation meeting in January.
He added: “He belittled those with genuine concerns, laughed at some of the points raised, was extremely rude to others and reduced some local residents to tears.”
SSfS believes Linfairn should have been two separate applications, as the 126.5 metre-high turbines are in two distinct groupings.
The campaign claims WilloWind has ‘sidestepped’ other Government policies on planning, landscape and noise.
Mr Steven said: “We’ve had ample opportunity to judge WilloWind’s standard of community engagement and consultation.
“And they simply don’t match up to the other developers, who while desiring the same outcome as WilloWind, have on the whole at least handled themselves with the professionalism that you would expect in these circumstances.”
No fewer than eight elected representative, from all the main politcal parties, agree with SSfS that the Linfairn development is ‘totally inappropriate’ – and should be refused.
Meanwhile, WilloWind insists the project will bring a range of benefits to the area, from new jobs to commercial opportunities, as well as long-term community benefits during the life of the windfarm.
And the company claims: “We have gone to great lengths to respond to the issues raised with us about this development, and have included a number of measures in our application which we believe fully address them.”
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