The developers of a massive new wind farm between Largs and Skelmorlie says there is no risk to communities after concerns were raised over low level infrasound noise.
Formal plans have now been unveiled with 150m high turbines between Largs and Skelmorlie – sparking concern from Skelmorlie Community Council and Cllr. Ian Murdoch.
Skelmorlie Community Council have put in an objection to planners citing up-to-date evidence from the World Health Organisation.
The proposed development of 10 wind turbines could power up to 34,000 homes.
The site to the east of Skelmorlie – Rigghill – is in the ownership of two private landowners with whom the applicant has a lease agreement.
The developers argue that the closest turbine is over 1.5km from Skelmorlie and due to its geographical location residents ‘would not experience significant visual impact upon their amenity’. However, there are a number of properties located within 2km of the proposed development which would.
The estimated on-site construction period is expected to take approximately 14 months.
Normal construction hours will be between 7.30am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 6pm at weekends. These times have been chosen to minimise disturbance to local residents
Cllr Ian Murdoch said: “In principle I am not against wind power if it is established and created in the right place but this is far too close to the whole village of Skelmorlie, and it is one of the biggest onshore wind turbine sites that has been created anywhere.
“My view is it doesn’t comply with council development policy, and there are two Sites of Special Scientific Interest – one in, and one outwith the site. Then you have the access to the site and the possibility of the adverse impact of infrasound.
“I welcome any development which will bring investment and job creation and boost the local economy, but first and foremost, it is important to protect the environment I have been elected as a councillor to ask these questions, and these are concerns which have been raised with my by local constituents.”
The developers stated in their consultation analysis: “At the public exhibitions in November 2019, over 60 per cent of those who completed a feedback form said that they were ‘supportive’ of renewable energy, with many commenting that they were impressed by the limited visibility of the site to the local residents as they had previously envisaged.
“Those who said they were ‘opposed’ felt that the turbines should not be located within the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park but also that they were generally opposed to any further wind farm development due to concerns regarding infrasound and previous negative experiences with the two SSE Hunterston test turbines that were erected within the locality during previous years.”
Councillor Tom Marshall said he wasn’t able to comment because of his role as the chair of the planning committee where the Righill application would be heard and he could not prejudge the decision at this stage.
A spokeswoman for Rigghill Wind Farm Ltd said: “We believe passionately in the need for renewable energy but are also acutely aware of the necessity for sensitive and sustainable development, which is of benefit to the communities in which it will be located. We have committed to make an annual award of £5,000 per MW to the local communities within the North Coast Locality (Skelmorlie, Largs, Fairlie, West Kilbride and Cumbrae) of up to £200,000 per annum.
“This equates to over £5m over the 30-year lifetime of the project. Additionally, we are committed to exploring community shared ownership proposals with the local community to invest in the wind farm and share in the returns across the 30-year life span through their ownership stake.”
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