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Wind farms creating ‘new Clearances’ for residents in Scotland

Residents are moving away from parts of south-west Scotland because they are losing much of the local landscape to wind farm developments, it has been claimed.

Now Trevor and Elaine Procter, who live at Knockvennie, near Dumfries, are urging people to contact local councillors to object to the “tsunami” of planning applications for such developments.

They have lived in their current home for 12-years, and Trevor said the effect on locals was comparable to the Highland Clearances.

He said a Scottish Government reporter had “trampled” local democracy by allowing an appeal against Mochrum Fell wind farm from Falck Renewables in 2016, despite opposition from planners, community councils representing 2500 residents and nearly 900 public objections.

“If the developers were interested in generating electricity they would have started construction four-years-ago but we suspect their only goal is profit,” said Procter.

“They have now re-applied to increase the height of seven turbines from 126.5m to 149.9m with rotors increased from 103m to 140m diameter to maximise profitability.

“If approved, this would introduce a wind farm north of Castle Douglas between the A75 and A712 towering up to 70m above the trig point summit of Mochrum Fell, clearly visible from all around Corsock and vast areas of the Stewartry and Glenkens, the Solway Coast and hills of South Ayrshire, leading to significant adverse effects and impacting tourism.

“As well as the existing Blackcraig wind farm (23 turbines of 110m) a tsunami of applications in the pipeline threaten to overwhelm the area.”

Procter said at times the National Grid cannot manage to cope with electricity produced from Blackcraig, which left the turbines shut down. This, he said, generated constraint payments at twice the generation rate totalling £200 million already this year.

“These constraint payments along with community benefits are paid for by us out of our rising electricity bills and green taxes,” he said.

“Foreign developers are busy making hay whilst the worst peacetime pandemic – Covid-19 – preoccupies the public and community consultation is curtailed.

“It’s another Highland clearance in a way with people moving because of the loss of landscape.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the original decision took account of the full merits of the case, and added: “The new application, to increase the height of the turbines, is the subject of a live planning application which is with Dumfries and Galloway Council. It would not therefore be appropriate to comment at this stage.”