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Opposition to windfarm bid

Councillors have given the thumbs down to plans for a 30 turbine windfarm near Sanquhar.

Members of the planning committee on Thursday voted by a majority to lodge a formal objection to the development proposals from North Lowther Energy Initiative.

The authority was consulted on a bid, by the partnership between Buccleuch and Forsa Energy, which will be determined by Scottish ministers.

Council officers recommended members oppose the plans, saying that the location and number of turbines represented a “visually dominant and incongruous” development.

They cited government guidelines that planning permission should be refused for developments which would have a “unacceptable impact on the natural environment”.

Councillor David McKie voiced his opposition to the plans saying that “enough is enough” over continued windfarm construction due to the “horrendous” amount of turbines already present in the area.

That view was echoed by Councillor Jane Maitland, who “wasn’t persuaded” that the proposed jobs brought by the development outweighed the concerns over the impact on the environment.

However, the wind farm plans were backed by a group of supporters on the committee including Councillor Archie Dryburgh who argued that the “socioeconomic benefits” of the scheme were sufficient to outweigh concerns.

The initial plans for the site at the Lowther Hills near Wanlockhead would have seen 35 turbines in place before community objections saw a revised bid introduced involving a reduction in the number of turbines to 30.

According to the developers, the project would deliver an economic impact of around £735,000 for local communities, as well as providing 33 full-time equivalent jobs during the construction period.