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Sorn wind farm developers have bypassed the public say locals

Sorn locals have raised concerns over a lack of collaboration from a wind farm developer with plans to move in on their patch, saying they were not properly consulted.

Green Cat Renewables are working on the project for five wind turbines with a maximum height of 149.5 metres at West Auchenlongford on behalf of Danish company Wind Estate Ltd and residents have said that the company has ignored requests for meaningful consultation.

Paddy Wiggins, of Sorn Community Council, reached out to the company seeking more collaboration. The company’s planning documents can be viewed online, but Paddy feels this is insufficient as not everybody will be able to access them and trawling through that information alone with no face to face interaction with a spokesperson is not ideal. His requests for more engagement with the community have been ignored.

With the deadline for public responses to the plans now having passed, he feels that the community has been somewhat bypassed.

Speaking last week, Paddy said: “We’re very disappointed, as closing date is this Friday and they’ve still not got back to us regarding our requests for more communication so it means there’s been no meaningful engagement.

“We’re supposed to represent the views of the village but we can’t do that without proper consultation. It’s difficult with COVID, but nevertheless things can be done.

“It’s a big impact on the village, you would expect something of that scale that there would be some consultation.”

Local woman Margaret Morton was furious at the actions of the developer, saying: “These wind turbines are going to be the biggest in the country and they’re next to a local landmark and they’ll be there forever more. That isn’t right because they’re not having a proper consultation with the local community.

“These things are going to be colossal and they’ve not even really bothered to involve us at all.”

Public consultation rules have been relaxed due to coronavirus. Meaning developers don’t have to hold face-to-face consultations. The Scottish Government advised that developers should “find alternative ways to enable the exchange of views that would otherwise be achieved by face to face interaction.” However, there is no statutory requirement for developers to do so.

Green Cat Renewables have not issued a response.