Conservationists have hit out over a planning application for a wind park in Galloway.
Campaigners behind ‘Save Wigtown Bay’ said it was “disrespectful” of renewable energy firm, Ecotricity, to submit the bid while the Scottish Government was still considering its appeal against a ban on building a meteorological mast as part of the seven turbine site.
Dumfries and Galloway Council previously ruled against Ecotricity’s proposed 262ft met mast on the grounds that it would “result in a loss of amenity and have a detrimental visual impact on the landscape character of the Galloway Hills Regional Scenic Area”.
Campaigners want to preserve Wigtown as “one of the last unspoilt vistas” in the whole of southern Scotland.
Ecotricity subsequently appealed the decision to the Scottish Government in October 2014, but the Scottish Government Reporter in charge of the appeal is still considering the case.
However, last week the the renewable energy firm announced that it had made an online planning application for the California Wind Park and was in the process of preparing to submit a hard copy of the application, along with a full Environmental Statement, to Dumfries and Galloway Council for consideration.
Martin Green, chairman of Save Wigtown Bay, said: “What an audacious, downright dirty and disrespectful move on behalf of Ecotricity. The Scottish Government reporter’s decision on the met mast hasn’t even been given and here they are putting in for planning on something far larger that will destroy the very heart and soul of bonnie Galloway.”
He added: “This project is entirely inappropriate and at odds with the local council and public who clearly do not want it overlooking the largest local nature reserve in Britain.”
Save Wigtown Bay have collected over 700 signatures calling on Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Scottish Government to protect the area by rejecting plans for industrial turbine developments including the proposed California Wind Park.
Ecotricity, which is donating £250,000 to Labour’s General Election campaign, has said the project will help cut Scotland’s carbon emissions and generate electricity for 50,000 homes.
A spokesman for Ecotricity said: “We are still awaiting an appeal decision to erect a wind met mast in order to get additional wind data, but met mast data is not a planning requirement. We already have extensive site specific wind data from existing wind databases, so we are confident the site is suitable for the wind park we are proposing.
“Dumfries and Galloway Council are inviting comments on the proposal from statutory organisations, other consultees, and members of the general public. This is an opportunity for residents and statutory bodies to submit their comments on the application.”
The firm is holding public drop-in sessions about the proposed development at Carsluith Village Hall on March 4 and Wigtown County Buildings on March 5, from 1pm-8pm both days.
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