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Stewartry quarry plans criticised by pressure group  

Credit:  By Stuart Gillespie | Daily Record | Jan 09, 2015 | www.dailyrecord.co.uk ~~

ScottishPower wants to create four quarries in the Stewartry to serve windfarm projects.

The company is planning to extract 1.5 million tonnes of minerals for schemes to connect proposed turbine sites to the National Grid.

It is preparing to seek council consent for the quarries in Carsphairn Forest and a fifth near Sanquhar to meet windfarm development needs.

But the scale of the move has drawn criticism from the pressure group Turbine Watch 312.

Spokesman Keith Mycock said: “I am sure the energy used to quarry and transport 1.5 million tonnes of stone will not appear in the supposed carbon saving figures for the windfarms the line will serve nor the backup fossil fuel generation needed when the windfarms are standing idle.”

ScottishPower is working on the South West Scotland Connections Project, which will involve new power lines and substations being created to connect seven proposed windfarms to the network.

In paperwork lodged with the council, the firm proposes to extract 1.5 million tonnes of aggregate over an 18 month period and would operate the sites one after the other.

The aggregate would be used “to form the haul roads and foundations required to construct the overhead transmission line”.

ScottishPower insist that operational traffic “would not enter the public highway”.

And the company describes the developments as “small”, adding “borrow pits and quarries are not unusual in forestry areas”.

A ScottishPower spokesman said: “We are seeking to extract rock from quarries to support work on the South West Scotland Connection Project.

“Using locally sourced rock means that we can keep road traffic to a minimum as we are not importing rock over long distances by road.

“This is in the early stages of planning and appropriate consultations will be carried out.”

He added: “Detailed planning and consultation for the overall South West Scotland Connection project started in 2007 and following planning consent in December 2012, work started on part A of the project last year.

“Construction of the towers for the new overhead line is now well advanced.

“The new overhead line leaves Coylton Substation and travels in a southerly direction for approximately 14km where it will connect to the new substation at Meikle Hill called New Cumnock Substation. All work has been carefully planned to minimise any disruption.”

Turbine Watch 312 questioned the suggestion that the quarries would be small operations.

Mr Mycock said: “One and a half million tonnes is a substantial amount of material, in fact it would be the annual production of a very large commercial quarry and would represent 75,000 times 20 tonne wagon loads.

“I am a little skeptical about not using existing roads as I would imagine the foundations for the pylons would require some concrete. Obviously they will be constructing haul roads from the quarries to follow the route of the line which will disrupt the natural drainage of the existing land and leave its mark for some time.”

Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “This project has been in the public domain since at least 2007 when it was consulted on, although I suspect many members of the public were pretty well unaware of the implications.

“It will result in 57km of new power line with almost 200 new pylons to support it, and four new substations along the way. 273 hectares of commercial timber will be removed – that is some 700 acres less towards the Scottish Government’s already unachievable target of 100,000 hectares of new timber plantings by 2020.

“This is clearly a massive civil engineering project that will inevitably cause some disruption to those living and working along its route. I therefore appeal to ScottishPower Energy Networks to do everything possible to ensure that my constituents and others are kept fully aware of the extent and timescales of each phase of these works.”

Source:  By Stuart Gillespie | Daily Record | Jan 09, 2015 | www.dailyrecord.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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