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Appeal anger over £36m wind farm  

Credit:  Eric Baxter, Reporter | Greenock Telegraph | 4 June 2016 | www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk ~~

Fed-up councillors say that Inverclyde has been ignored by a planning expert who has given the green light for a controversial £36m wind farm.

Members of the planning board believe the decision is anti-democratic after seeing their earlier rejection of the application overturned by a Scottish Government-appointed official.

There had been no less than 700 objections about the plan for eight 110-metre high turbines on Corlic Hill.

Concerns had also been raised about the visual impact the turbines would have on Inverclyde, and air traffic control officials are worried about aircraft safety as well.

The project was opposed by 18 of Inverclyde’s councillors, with only the SNP’s Chris McEleny and Math Campbell-Sturgess supporting it.

But developers 2020 Renewables appealed to the Scottish Government, whose planning reporter said it could go ahead.

Councillor James McColgan told a meeting of the planning board: “It’s about democratic accountability. This has been overturned by one person in Edinburgh.

“What’s the point of having councillors if we can’t take a decision?”

Board chairman David Wilson said there had been no material changes since 2005, when a previous wind farm application for Corlic Hill was rejected.

But Stuart Jamieson, head of regeneration and planning, pointed out that there was now a new Scottish Government energy policy, and that a different reporter had taken the decision.

Cllr Wilson said: “This will affect the whole of Inverclyde enormously. We should put down a marker to say we are not happy about the decision.”

The safety of aircraft above the wind farm was also raised again during the debate, with Mr Wilson describing how planes ‘disappear’ from radar screens when they fly above the turbines.

He told his colleagues that computer experts now have three years to come up with software that would allow air traffic control to identify a plane in those circumstances.

Cllr Keith Brooks added: “The paramount reason for our decision was aircraft safety. I’m concerned the radar problem has not been solved.”

Fellow board member Innes Nelson said there should not be a wind farm in a regional park, but Cllr Campbell-Sturgess declared: “I voted for it. I’m pleased it is going ahead.”

Provost Robert Moran believes that the issue should now be debated by the full council.

He said: “We are disappointed the reporter decided to disregard the view of the Inverclyde public.

“Now we have to decide if we are going to respond.”

Source:  Eric Baxter, Reporter | Greenock Telegraph | 4 June 2016 | www.greenocktelegraph.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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