Plans for a wind farm on the border between East Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway could be scuppered after a disagreement between the two council areas.
East Ayrshire Council recommended to Scottish Ministers, who decide on applications of wind farms, that the Sanquhar II development, south of New Cumnock should be given the go-ahead.
However, in Dumfries and Galloway, where 41 of the total 44 turbines would be located, the council has recommended that Scottish Ministers reject the proposals.
Chief among the concerns of Dumfries and Galloway Council were the visual impacts that such a large wind farm would have on the open uplands that surround it.
The wind farm would be one the largest in the area (only the Hare Hill site has more turbines) and would add to the 198 turbines already within 20km of the site.
Another 251 turbines have been approved for the area too.
Earlier this year residents of Scaur Glen, an area close to the development, complained of “21st century clearances” after Community Windpower Ltd, the company behind the Sanquhar II proposals, snapped up historic local properties that they planned to leave vacant for the 40-year life of the farm.
A concerned resident said: “We strongly support any project that would bring sustainable local employment, a future for our young people, and enhance and preserve our community. However, I believe that the level of investment needed could be much better used to address the urgent need for renewable energy and climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
CWL have cited the benefits that the project would bring in terms of jobs, more than 200, that would be created during the construction phase.
Over the course of its life, construction phase and operational phase included the project is predicted to contribute more than £1 billion to the local and Scottish economy.
A report from Dumfries and Galloway Council acknowledges this benefit, but said that it would be short-lived and that the cost to visual impact was not worth the jobs boost.
It adds: “Whilst construction jobs would be a positive benefit to the economy, it would be a short-term benefit where it is considered that only limited weight can be given to this benefit when considered against the longer term impacts.”
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