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Wind farm plans at Kirkcudbright site get the laser treatment in favour of traditional anemometers

A new laser system to measure windspeed is being brought in by windfarm companies.

It means anemometer masts, sitting on hillsides for a couple of years, may become a thing of the past.

REG Windpower has just been granted permission to site the trailer mounted system on rough ground near Little Sypland at Kirkcudbright.

However, planners had to take into account eight objections from people who raised a number of fears, principally about light pollution.

They were concerned the laser beam would be visible for miles around and affect the dark skies of the east Stewartry coast and the Fleet Valley national scenic area.

The objectors were also worried about possible effects on human health, low flying aircraft and wildlife.

But the plan was approved at a recent planning applications committee.

The system works by illuminating the movement of dust, pollen and droplets in the atmosphere which can then be accurately measured and replaces the traditional wind monitoring mast.

And a report to the committee said: “It is noted from the submission that the proposed laser would have a longer wavelength than that which is visible to the naked eye so would have no impact on this basis, bar the siting of the trailer itself… On the basis that it would not be visible, there are no concerns regarding impact on residential amenity, tourism and cumulative visual impact.”

The proposal was not considered against renewable energy or wind turbine policy as the light detection and ranging system has different characteristics to the usual infrastructure involved in wind farm creation.

In a separate wind farm bid a planning application for an 80m anemometer mast on land south of Barclay Hill, which is east of Balmaclellan, has been submitted with the council on behalf of East Galloway Wind Energy Limited.