Scottish Government chiefs this week defended their decision to snub the views of angry Doon Valley residents.
Last week we revealed how ministers in Holyrood gave the green light for Dersalloch Wind Farm – despite widespread opposition locally.
Both East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire Council officially objected to Scottish Power’s 23-turbine plans at Dersalloch Hill.
They took that course of action after receiving 5000 letters of objection.
But despite this, Ministers overlooked the recommendations here in Ayrshire to grant the utility giant permission to start operating on the site just west of Dalmellington.
And this week a Scottish Government Spokesperson said: “Scottish Ministers carefully considered all consultation responses, as well as the environmental information and all letters of objection and support, before determining the Dersalloch Wind Farm application. They were satisfied that most issues raised could be appropriately addressed by way of mitigation, and that those impacts which remain are outweighed by the benefits the development will bring.
“The Dersalloch wind farm will create 120 jobs during construction and additional jobs once up and running. It will also save more than 88,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year while producing enough electricity to power 32,500 homes. Local residents will also benefit from an £8.5million community benefit package over the 25 year lifespan of the wind farm.
“Scotland is already providing over a third of the UK’s renewable electricity generation and helping to keep the lights on across our islands at a time where there is an increasingly tight gap between electricity supply and demand.”
Dark Sky boss Mark Gibson argued that the decision was a betrayal of local people, while both local authorities say they were considering the implications of the decision.
It’s not the first time in recent months that East Ayrshire Council have looked powerless against the might of Holyrood.
Earlier this year they objected to a new quarry near Muirkirk but again their views were ignored and the Troon-based Hillhouse Quarries were allowed to press on with their plans.
Scottish Ministers will also make the final decision on Vattenfall’s South Kyle wind farm after, like the Dersalloch application, they asked for it to be objected.
Anxious anti-wind farm campaigners in Dalmellington say it will be a disaster for the area, in terms of the Dark Sky Observatory, and future tourism opportunities.
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