Plans to designate an area of Galloway’s coastal waters as a possible site for wind turbines have been sunk.
The Scottish Government had included an area south of Luce Bay in its draft sectoral marine plan as having wind energy potential.
The zone was one of 16 “draft plan options” identified around the coast for a maritime renewables drive.
But local fishing, marine leisure and community interests strongly objected to the Galloway bid in the public consultation.
Negative impacts on tourism, marine mammals and birds, fishing grounds and seascapes were among the issues raised.
And last week ministers took the strength of feeling on board and pulled the plug.
Kirkcudbright scallop boat skipper Steven Girgan was delighted he proposal had been scuttled.
“It’s good news for the fishing industry,” he told the News. “This would have been an absolute disaster – not just for the boats but for jobs onshore as well.
“It’s great that the Scottish Government has listened which is not something they always do.”
Port William fisherman Paul McGuire felt the plan was holed below the waterline from the start.
“None of us could understand why they proposed this right in the middle of a shipping lane,” he said.
“The Scaur rocks and the Mull of Galloway are recognised bird sanctuaries for breeding seabirds.
“And Luce Bay is a marine conservation area as well as an important breeding ground for fish.
“It’s the last thing you should be thinking of, putting a windfarm right next to it.”
Mr McGuire, who fishes for crabs and lobsters in the bay, added: “I would like to thank everybody for their support.
“Ninety-nine per cent of people felt it was not a good location. Fishing, tourism and farming are all this area has.
“I am very happy and relieved.”
Kippford-based Solway Yacht Club secretary John Sproat objected on behalf of the club.
He said: “I am very happy that this potential hazard to navigation has been removed. These are quite tricky waters to sail in.
“There are quite a number of Solway Yacht Club members who go up the West Coast in summer. They will go through these grounds and not always in daylight. The risk to a safe night-time passage was always there.”
The Scottish Government aims to increase offshore wind capacity to 11 gigawatts by 2030 – enough to power more than eight million homes. With the Galloway option removed, 15 zones remain.
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The plan is based on extensive consultation. It seeks to balance the vital importance of our marine environment and other key sectors with the huge ambition and opportunity we have for the offshore wind sector.”
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