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Loch Urr and Benbrack: No dumping ground for windfarms

An energy giant has come under fire over proposals for two new windfarms.

E.ON has lodged applications with the Scottish Government to build a total of 44 turbines at two sites – Benbrack near Carsphairn and Loch Urr.

The plans have been scaled down from what they originally intended to build but locals remain unhappy.

Caroline Pridham, of the Save Loch Urr group, said: “We need to fight against these proposals and send a strong clear message to the Scottish Government, or risk seeing the whole of our beautiful region being covered with windfarms.

“There are currently more than 1,000 wind turbines over 260 feet high – operational, consented, or in planning – within 20 miles of Loch Urr.

“E.ON state that they have taken community concerns into account and have liaised extensively with the community. If this was truly the case, they would not be submitting these applications.

“Many from the communities who will be impacted by these proposed windfarms have already made it clear to E.ON and Dumfries and Galloway Council that our areas is already doing more than its fair share for renewable energy.

“We need to let the Scottish Government know that our area is not prepared to be a dumping ground for windfarms.”

Keith Mycock, of Turbine Watch 312, added: “Even though E.ON have reduced the number of turbines in their Benbrack and Loch Urr windfarm proposals they are still substantial developments which will have a significant detrimental impact on the landscape.

“It has to be said that it is the norm for a windfarm proposal to be initially put forward with far more turbines than the developer really expects to be in the final submission, allowing them to claim they have listened to the community.”

And Alison Chapman, of Galloway Landscape And Renewable Energy (GLARE), said: “We believe the project would have adverse impacts on wildlife, ecosystems, the landscape and tourism plus loss of amenity capital for the area.

“GLARE considers the inclusion of Craigenputtock in the site plan is a wanton act of vandalism on Scotland’s heritage and most prestigious thinker, Thomas Carlyle, who actually coined the word environment.”

E.ON had intended to put up 27 turbines at Benbrack, a number that has been reduced to 18. At Loch Urr, they cut the number of turbines from 63 to 26.

Project developer Nick Taylor said: “We removed the northern section of our Loch Urr windfarm plans to significantly reduce the impact on the neighbouring Moniaive and Dunscore communities. Through local and environmental consultation, the size of our Benbrack site has also been reduced.”

The plans will be considered by the Scottish Government.