Dumfries and Galloway Council is to raise objections with Scottish Ministers over a controversial windfarm proposal.
And that could lead to a public inquiry into Community Windpower Limited’s Sanquhar II plans for 44 turbines on the 2,728 hectares of land in Upper Nithsdale.
Formal objections have already been sent to ministers from East Ayrshire Council and SEPA.
An online public petition by Upper Nithsdale residents keen for Holyrood to throw out the Sanquhar Windfarm II plans has, so far, raised 1,096 signatures.
The plans are for 42 turbines with a maximum blade to tip height of 200m and two at the lower 149m height. Each turbine would have a total generating capacity of up to 7MW.
The council is being consulted by Scottish Ministers – who will have the final say – because the installed capacity for the proposed windfarm would exceed 50MW of generated electricity.
At the planning applications committee, a bid by Councillor Andy Ferguson to defer consideration until the authority’s landscape architect would be available to assist members in their determinations was defeated on the casting cote of chairman Jim Dempster.
Council officials recommended councillors should “raise objections on a number of grounds”.
In his report, case officer Andrew Robinson said the windfarm would be “located in a landscape incapable of accommodating the development without an unacceptable level of significant and adverse detrimental landscape and visual impacts.”
He also said that the design and scale “is not appropriate to the scale and character of its setting,” and “would be at odds to the established windfarm pattern in the Southern Uplands taking in the Ken and Nith catchments”.
As well as being contrary to council policy, he said it would “exacerbate visual impacts within an already developed area of Upper Nithsdale which would fundamentally and disproportionately alter the experience of the landscape”.
He also said: “As the council is the local planning authority in this case, a decision to formally raise objection to this proposal would trigger a public local inquiry.”
The extensive site lies between Black Hill and Blacklord Hill south west of Sanquhar, and the Upper Scar Valley between Corse Hill and Blackcraig Hill, north west of Penpont.
The south-eastern part is within the Thornhill Uplands Regional Scenic Area and the Inventory Designed Landscape at Drumlanrig Castle is only 8.5km to the east.
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