A conservation group is objecting to plans for Bonhill’s first wind turbine over fears it could lead to a ‘rash’ of wind farms in the Vale.
Smith Harris, represented by the engineering and environmental consultancy firm the Waterman Group, wants to install a single turbine up to 45 metres tall.
But voluntary group Clydebelt has called on West Dunbartonshire Council to refuse planning permission for the turbine – which would be built on land to the east of Broomhill Wood near the Beechwood estate.
The group was formed more than two decades ago to protect the greenbelt status of the Kilpatrick hills and surrounding area.
Clydebelt secretary Sam Gibson told the Reporter: “This turbine is fairly big and doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anybody round about.
“It’s a commercial development. If we have one like that and it gets passed there’s nothing to stop a whole rash of them going through the whole Leven valley and up to the national park.
“They’ve got a big site – 32 hectares for one turbine. I feel once they have got one in they will be wanting to expand.
“It’s also going to be right in the face of the folk in Bellsmyre.”
The group has lodged a formal objection with the council, claiming the turbine could cause health problems for locals, kill wildlife and spoil the view in the picturesque area.
The objection states: “We consider the small amount of power generated and any carbon saving produced does not justify its impacts on the local community, including the effects on natural heritage, landscape, visual impacts and the possible noise that may impact on the residential amenity, many houses being just over 400 metres away.
“Possible noise, the visual, and other aspects would reduce the quality of life for nearby residents, even to the extent of causing sleeplessness and health problems.”
It continues: “The Kilpartick hills are an important recreational area for walking, angling and bird watching, much used by the population of the Glasgow conurbation and further afield.
“The openness and feeling of being in a more remote area, yet conveniently close to civilisation, contribute to the popularity of the area.
“This turbine may spoil the views towards Loch Lomond from the Lang Craigs, Bellsmyre, Overtoun, and Doughnot Hill. It could be highly visible from the proposed new (sic) St Patricks High School .
“The developers seem keen to say where it cannot be seen from, for example Lyle Park in Greenock, and rather from nearby points to the south, as mentioned above.”
The group raised fears the turbine could kill bats flying in the area and could deter otters from using the nearby Murroch burn.
They also claimed the turbine proposal contravenes local planning policy on several counts, including being on land designated as green belt.
The developer’s application states the turbine is under legal noise limits, fits planning policy and would not ‘generate substantial concerns’ regarding the visual impact for the local community.
However, when contacted by the Reporter, a spokesman for the developer declined to comment.
Past applications for turbines and windfarms in the area have historically failed after being met with resistance from residents.
If approved, this wind turbine would be the first in West Dunbartonshire.
In 2013 plans were submitted for a wind farm in the Merkins area, on the Kilpatrick Hills above Gartocharn, Bonhill, and Jamestown.
However, the application was rejected after vocal objections, spearheaded by an online campaign and petition.
The Bonhill application is expected to be decided at a future meeting of the council’s planning committee.
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