Windfarm campaigners hit out at Scottish Government after approval given for Mochrum Fell development in the Glenkens
Anti-windfarm campaigners are furious after the Scottish Government approved a controversial project in the Glenkens.
Falck Renewables and Coriolis Energy were this week successful in an appeal for their Mochrum Fell development after councillors had previously rejected their bid.
More than 600 people had objected to the eight-turbine scheme planned for Parton.
Campaigner Trevor Procter said: “This is a black day for democracy and we are still reeling at the shock of the injustice of this decision to overturn the refusal of planning permission.
“This just reinforces the inadequacies of the current planning system which is totally biased towards the applicants. They can appeal against a refusal but we cannot appeal an approval.”
Council planning officials recommended that the proposals be approved by members of the planning applications committee last June.
But, after protests ahead of the meeting, councillors rejected the bid on the basis they would have a “significant detrimental impact on the surrounding area”.
The two firms then appealed to the Scottish Government and reporter David Lidell said that “significant visual effects” would be fairly limited and he could find “no other significant impacts that cannot be adequately controlled by planning conditions”.
He also believed the proposals complied with the local development plan. Mr Lidell noted that “several hundred people have objected to the proposal” along with five community councils but, while he “appreciated this strength of feeling”, he felt the scheme could be approved, attaching almost 30 conditions that will need to be met.
Development manager for Coriolis Energy, Lynne Sweeney, said: “We are delighted the reporter has taken the decision to approve the appeal.
“We are still a wee while off starting work as we will have to discharge conditions.”
The two firms also asked for the council to pay for the cost of the appeal and Mr Liddell found the local authority had acted in “an unreasonable manner”.
However, he also felt this had not caused “unnecessary expense” to the applicants and declined to award costs.
Mr Procter, who lives with his wife Elaine near where the windfarm will be built, added: “This decision just proves that local opinion counts for nothing with the Scottish Government when one government-appointed reporter can overrule the unanimous decision of the 14 locally-elected planning committee members, the strong objections from all five local community councils and over 600 objections from individuals who have taken the time and trouble to object.
“We would like to sincerely thank all those who opposed the windfarm, especially Save Loch Urr, TW312, GLARE and SAS .
“The decision of the reporter, flying in the face of such overwhelming local opposition is a travesty of justice.
“We feel that something as important as this should not be decided by one person. That plays into the hands of the developers but by a public enquiry where everything is transparent.
“If we had felt that any of this process was played out on a level playing field we would have been noble in defeat but this was emphatically not the case. Mochrum Fell windfarm is not wanted and never was.”
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