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Campaigners win battle – but wind farm war goes on

Anti-wind farm campaigners won the latest battle against a huge development near Dalmellington.

And now they have urged Scottish Ministers to give the 50-turbine plan for South Kyle a final boot into touch.

At a special Planning Meeting on Friday, councillors agreed to the recommendations from council officers to OBJECT to the controversial proposals from Vattenfall.

After a site visit to the planned location, just east of Dalmellington, Cllr David Shaw said: “We were up at Loch Doon and you can see the fantastic scenery when you are up there.

“For that reason I would certainly object to this.”

The decision isn’t an end to the matter though and, as the development is of a scale of 50 turbines or more, the Scottish Ministers will make the final decision later this year.

They will look at it objectively and then determine what will happen.

While Dalmellington Community Council objected to the plans – with EAC receiving over 1000 letters of protest – nearby Patna Community Council say the wind farm will be a good thing for the area and they supported it.

Twenty of the proposed turbines fall within Dumfries and Galloway – and the council there also backed the plan.

It also emerged before the meeting that air traffic controllers had lifted their objection to it after originally being concerned that 12 of the turbines would have an adverse impact on radar and jeopardise air traffic control.

But it remains to be seen how the Scottish Government will see things, having recently rejected EAC’s objection to a massive quarry near Muirkirk.

Speaking after the meeting, Mark Gibson from Dalmellington’s Dark Sky Observatory said: “It is really positive that this decision has been taken but the Scottish Government have gone against these recommendations before.

“There seems to be a growing realisation that wind farms can do great harm to tourism and the natural world. I think 95 per cent of the Dalmellington population will be against it.”

Objectors will take confidence from a decision by Ministers in 2008 to kick out Vattenfall’s 100-turbine plans at Kyle. While the energy firm has reduced the size of the site for this new proposal, the turbines themselves are actually bigger.

Alison Daugherty, Vattenfall’s Senior Project Manager, said:“We would like to thank the local community and businesses for their continued support over a number of years.

“It is estimated that throughout the two-year construction period and 25 years operations, South Kyle Wind Farm could help to create or retain more than 150 local jobs. The Planning Committee’s decision will now delay investment to the area. We remain committed to maximising the local economic benefit that South Kyle Wind Farm could bring to South West Scotland.”

The application has been submitted under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 so although East Ayrshire Council is not the determining authority, it is an important consultee along with Dumfries and Galloway Council. The Scottish Government will have the final say on the scheme.