Developers VG Energy say an application to erect an anemometer above the Gareloch does not signal a potential wind farm development.
VG Energy has applied to install a mast to measure wind velocity on a site 450 metres east of Laigh Balernock Farm, Shandon but stress that, if granted, this will not pave way for a large-scale wind farm.
Referring to the proposed Gareloch project as ‘farm-scale’, VG Energy are separating themselves from the abandoned, large-scale wind farm plans in Helensburgh and Cove that have caused controversy in the community in the last year.
“This application is categorically not a wind farm, I can guarantee you of that,” said Dave Anderson, Planning Manager at VG Energy.
“I want to quash rumours that this is a wind farm, this is just a farmer trying to make a bit of money in what are tough times. I know that some plans have been proposed for wind farms and that it’s been very controversial, but this proposed development is different.”
In order for a development to receive ‘wind farm’ classification there must be a minimum of three turbines.
VG Energy has confirmed that if any project on the Gareloch site goes ahead, turbines on the site would not exceed two.
Due to development guidelines for the Gareloch area, developers are also prohibited from erecting turbines that exceed a height of 50m from the ground to the blade tip.
VG Energy have confirmed that turbines of this height are not used in large-scale wind farm developments.
Previous plans for large-scale wind farm developments in the area have caused controversy within the community.
In July 2015, proposals for five turbines in a £7.5m development above Helensburgh were withdrawn after Glasgow Airport lodged an objection against the project.
In September of the same year the Cove Community Wind Farm project was abandoned for legal reasons, despite promising to invest millions of pounds into the community. The application received more than 2,500 comments either for or against the application before it was axed.
VG Energy also hope to play a role in the community if their farm-scale plans go ahead.
“The aim of the project is to have some community involvement,” says Dave. “Our soft approaches to community groups have had good feedback so far.
“It’s so early in the process, it’s not even definitely going ahead. The mast will just be there if the farmer needs to use it, he’s a long way from making a decision.”
VG Energy confirmed they had received no objections to the application so far and that if successful the next stage of the process will be to conduct environmental investigations to ensure there is no adverse affect to the locale.
Lomond North councillor Maurice Corry said: “I’m aware of the planning application for the anemometer at Garelochhead.
“If the planning application goes ahead, the results of the anemometer are positive and two wind turbines are erected I would be looking for there to be community involvement and community benefit from the development.
“This is a well trodden path with many hoops to go through, but the end result if approved should benefit the community as a priority. I’m neither supporting or against the application, but would expect it to give back to the community if the project went ahead.”
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