A planning application for a wind farm near West Calder has attracted a mixed response from locals.
The application has been submitted by Fauch Hill Sustainable Energy for 12 turbines at Fauch Hill, West Calder, which is just outside Pentlands National Park.
The company had asked for permission in 2012 for a wind farm comprising of 23 turbines but following a public inquiry a year later, the application was refused by Scottish Ministers.
A new application was submitted last month for a reduced 12 turbines at 25 feet high which has attracted 100 objections.
However an independent survey carried out among people living in the area found over 40 per cent were in favour and one of the local community councils has also backed the scheme.
Those against the wind farm are vocal, saying the development would ruin the natural beauty of the area.
Peter Vincent, acting chair of West Calder and Harburn Community Council said: “We do not support this application because of its location.
“Councillors feel that the area of the Pentland hills, to the south of the A70, should be protected from wind farms in order to preserve the outstanding beauty, wildness and flora and fauna from this kind of development and to protect the huge value this region has to the people that enjoy it each year.”
Ray Kew said the proposed development amounted to a “desecration” of the Pentland Hills.
She continued: “The Pentland Hills are a precious remaining scenic landscape in West Lothian and an army of wind farms has already marched 20kms in an unbroken line through West Lothian.
“Its scenic and heritage features are being replaced by an industrial landscape.”
The proposal does, however, have much support from other quarters.
Kirknewton Community Council backed the development after a public consultation found 43 per cent of locals supported the proposal.
Of 406 responses from the Kirknewton Community Council area some 43 per cent indicated support for the proposal while 14 per cent indicated opposition. A further 31 per cent neither supported or opposed and 12 per cent didn’t know.
Its chair, Hugh Gordon Hunter, added: “Kirknewton Community Council therefore supports the application for the wind farm.”
A spokesperson for Fauch Hill Sustainable Energy, owned by Canadian company Boralex, said it was important to note the findings of the survey and the fact the community would benefit from the wind farm.
He continued: “A key advantage of the site is its exceptional wind speed, enabling the smaller Fauch Hill Wind Farm to take advantage of very high wind speeds and operate viably without subsidies.
“Fauch Hill Sustainable Energy Ltd and Kirknewton Community Development Trust Ltd signed a Heads of Terms agreement for the trust to have ownership of 1.50 Mega Watts of the Fauch Hill Wind Farm and a second Heads of Terms for the financing of the 1.50 Mega Watts, should the wind farm be consented.
“This agreement will benefit the trust to the order of about £1.5 million over the course of the life of the wind farm and Boralex are delighted to have the Kirknewton Community Development Trust as partners in the wind farm.
“Boralex continue to work with West Calder and Harburn Community Development Trust to agree Heads of Terms for their portion of the Community Turbine, which will again be worth about £1.5 million to that community over the life of the wind farm.
“In addition, the West Lothian Development Trust have been offered £1500 per installed Mega Watt of community benefit.”
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