September 22, 2017

Campaigners angry as E.ON given go-ahead for 18 turbine windfarm in the Glenkens

By Stuart Gillespie | Daily Record | 22 Sep 2017 |

Campaigners have hit out at the decision to approve another major windfarm development in the Glenkens.

Energy firm E.ON has been given the go-ahead by the Scottish Government to build 18 turbines at Benbrack, which lies to the north-east of Carsphairn.

The approval for the 130m tall structures came after a public inquiry into the scheme.

Anti-windfarm campaigner Alison Chapman of Galloway Landscape and Renewable Energy (GLARE) criticised the ruling.

She said: “I am sure I am not the only resident in Scotland who is disheartened by this decision of our government to erect yet more wind turbines in the area around Carsphairn to kill birds and bats, destroy ecosystems and our natural and cultural heritage to the detriment of our tourist industry and the lives of the many others who are ancillary to it.

“No matter how high or however many turbines there may be, any wind- generated electricity can produce just half of its potential.

“It is only intermittent and variable, still without any realistic method of storage and making almost no difference to our carbon footprint, which is only about one per cent of the global total.”

She added: “It is, however, a great money spinner for developers and investors out of the pockets of any of the millions of electricity users north or south of the border and, increasingly, a source of real distress and possible adverse impacts on health for those of our residents who have to suffer life lived alongside a windfarm.”

The public inquiry into the scheme was chaired by Scottish Government reporter Dan Jackman last year with his findings and decision published this week.

Dumfries and Galloway Council did not object to the proposal, subject to conditions, but neighbouring authority East Ayrshire Council opposed it amid concerns over the impact on the landscape.

However, in his report Mr Jackman found the project would create “relatively few significant landscape and visual impacts”, which were “not unexpected for a commercial scale windfarm”.

He acknowledged that the scenery surrounding Loch Doon was important for tourism but found “no convincing evidence” that being able to see the wind turbines would impact on it.

He added: “It is accepted that views from the A713 and Loch Doon need to be considered but overall, they are not considered to be unacceptable.”

And Mr Jackman stated that the proposal would “make an important contribution” to the Scottish Government’s targets for renewable energy.

Mr Jackson granted permission for the development, attaching a string of conditions.

An E.ON spokesman said: “Since launching its proposals in 2012, we have worked closely with the community and undertaken extensive consultation to understand local concerns.

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