Plans for a major new wind farm above Loch Fyne will be discussed next week, though councillors will be warned not to say if they’re in favour.
It is estimated that the Creag Dhubh project above Strachur could produce generate 27MW – enough power for over 16,000 households.
An exhibition of the proposals for local residents was first held in October 2017 and initially a planning application was expected by the following autumn.
But next week Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee will consider a proposal of application notice, which may be followed y the planning application itself.
The councillors will be told by officials that they must not express any opinion on whether a subsequent planning application would be approved.
A report adds: “Any opinions or views expressed by councillors at the pre-application stage must be made mindful of the overarching requirements of fairness and impartiality and of keeping an open mind.
“The process provides opportunity for officers to give feedback to the prospective applicant on issues which members would wish to see addressed within the planning application submission.”
Very little information about the plan is included in the report to councillors, but the developers’ scoping report, available on their website, says there will be nine turbines, each with a tip height of 139 metres.
The wind farm would be located on the slopes of Creag Dhubh,in an area of forestry and open moorland about seven miles south of the Clachan Flats wind farm.
It is less than a mile away from the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and the turbines would be visible from Inveraray but not from Ardkinglas at the head of Loch Fyne.
The scoping report adds: “If planning permission is granted a substantial community benefits package would be set up to provide an annual fund available to the local community.
“Creag Dhubh Renewables LLP would like to provide a community benefit model where specific localised needs are targeted.
“We would like to ensure that the community plays a significant role in the distribution of any funds.
“Suggestions on the most suitable structure for a community benefit fund are welcomed, as well as the preferred uses for the fund. “
It adds that an Environmental Impact Assessment would mean that environmentally sensitive areas would be avoided.
One of the proposed wind turbines is the council’s North Argyll Area of Panoramic Quality and the other wind turbines are very near to the border of this designated area
The West Loch Fyne (Coast) and East Loch Fyne (Coast) Areas of Panoramic Quality are both within four miles of the site and would have ‘partial theoretical visibility’ of the development.