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Mass opposition to £36m windfarm plan

Developers behind plans for a £36 million windfarm in the hills above Greenock have suffered a major setback after councillors unanimously opposed their proposals.

A special hearing of the Inverclyde Planning Board took place yesterday in Greenock Town Hall as green energy firm 2020 Renewables were quizzed about their plans for eight 110-metre tall turbines on Corlic Hill.

During nearly two-and-a-half hours of debate, 2020 directors put forward their case after planning officials recommended the application be rejected.

Alan Baker, managing director of the Greenock-based firm, came under fire from various organisations – including community groups, parks bosses, residents, airport chiefs, councillors and planning officials.

Key concerns over the windfarm include the negative visual impact on the landscape and concerns over the effect it could have on air traffic radar at Glasgow Airport.

Tne airport’s Ross Nimmo said the development would have an ‘adverse impact on the safe operation of Glasgow Airport’ to the ‘detriment’ of public safety.

2020 chief Mr Baker said his company is constantly working with partners on new technology to combat air traffic radar issues and that the airport is already trialling new kit. He called for an aviation restriction to be imposed on the project, meaning construction would not start until a solution could be found for concerns raised by airport and air traffic control bosses.

But Mr Nimmo said: “It’s our opinion that the impact cannot be mitigated.

“We have no reason to spuriously reject something.”

The project has attracted 703 objections and just one letter of support.

Representations were made at the meeting by Kilmacolm Community Council, Kilmacolm Civic Trust, members of Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park authority, Glasgow Airport, Inverclyde Ramblers and locals living near to the proposed site.

In response to concerns about the visual impact, Mr Baker said windfarms are ‘common on the landscape now’ and added there was ‘absolutely no evidence’ to suggest they have any detrimental impact on tourism.

Councillor Ciano Rebecchi eventually moved refusal of the application and to refer it to the full council for a final decision. He was backed unanimously by the rest of the board.

The full council meeting is expected to take place in December.