East Ayrshire Council has agreed to an extension at Hare Hill windfarm.
Hare Hill, located to the south east of New Cumnock, will see 39 turbines installed, with a generating capacity of around 33 megawatts (MW).
The project has been in development for over nine years, and will be built adjacent to the existing 20 wind turbines of Hare Hill Windfarm following councillors giving it the green light at a meeting of the Council’s Planning Committee.
The Chronicle reported last week how the project was being supported by the New Cumnock Community Council following an agreement with Scottish Power that the additional community benefits should remain in the community itself.
Muirkirk Community Council were the only group in opposition of the development, with Chairman, Ian Smith saying: “The Community Council met and discussed the windfarm and has unanimously decided that we’d like to keep our hills they way they are.
“We can get plenty of tourism as a result of them and we don’t think that wind turbines would do the same.”
ScottishPower Renewables says it has worked closely with a range of planning, community and environmental stakeholders over several years to develop the project in a collaborative and sensitive manner. They claim managing the interests of aviation stakeholders has been key to the project’s success, and the company worked closely with air traffic control, the Ministry of Defence, and Glasgow Prestwick Airport to ensure their concerns were addressed.
Simon Christian, UK Managing Director, ScottishPower Renewables said: “Our business has spent a number of years developing Hare Hill Windfarm Extension, and we are delighted that East Ayrshire Council has today approved our plans.
“The original Hare Hill Windfarm project was one of the first windfarms that we constructed in Scotland, and we have grown from these early projects to become one of the largest developers of wind power in the UK. Importantly, we have achieved this growth in a responsible manner, by carefully selecting suitable sites, and working closely with communities and local stakeholders. We have secured consent for over 90% of the wind capacity that we have put into the planning system, which is an industry leading position and testament to the efforts that we put in to every project.
“ScottishPower Renewables has also been leading the renewables industry in working closely with aviation authorities, airports and the military to agree solutions to overcome any potential impacts on their operations. This ongoing work has resulted in solutions being found for many proposed developments, which now includes Hare Hill Extension.”
The company aims to start construction work at Hare Hill Extension in late 2015, with the project due to be fully completed by 2016.
As part of ScottishPower Renewables’ commitment to the community around Hare Hill Extension, community benefit of the equivalent of £5,000 per MW of installed capacity will be provided, delivering up to £4.1 million over the project lifetime. The company also supports the use of local contractors where possible as the project goes into the construction and operational phases.
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