A mast to measure wind speed at Bodinglee near Biggar has been given planning permission.
A precourser to a potential 62-turbine wind farm, 120m mast will be in place for three years to provide data on the suitability of the site for a wind farm.
Planning and building standards manager Tony Finn told the council’s planning committee on Tuesday, February 23, said that “this application for the mast relates only to the erection of it” and that it “wouldn’t set any precedent or make any opinion in relation to the erection of turbines in the area”.
Applicants Banks Renewables have proposed to construct a 6.5cm wide mast of lattice construction which will minimise the visual impact on the surrounding landscape at the summit of Scaur Hill.
A number of objectors felt this would be their only chance to oppose the wind farm as an application for a wind farm of this size would be dealt with by the Scottish Government.
No formal plans for the potential wind farm have been submitted yet.
Conservative group leader, Councillor Alex Allison (Clydesdale East) shared objectors’ concerns.
He said: “I can understand the policy behind this being completely separate from the wind farm proposal if it ever becomes an application.
“There is a lot of concern within the local community. If this area is designated as not being suitable for wind farms as they have indicated, why on Earth would we be wanting to put up an anemometer?
“Technically you are saying they are not connected bu in everybody’s opinion they are.”
Clydesdale North councillor Richard Lockhart added: “I don’t see any point in going through all of this cost and hastle if you’re not going to build anyway.”
Objectors had pointed out that the application site was “part of a turbine-free corridor” and that there was a “low capacity for wind farms” in the area however, Mr Finn clarified that there was no formal designation that the site couldn’t become a wind farm.
Mr Finn added: “Any application has to be considered on its merits.
“The suitability of a potential wind farm on the site would require a wholly different assessment to this one.
“The key thing in this case is that the mast is 120m in height so there would be a visual impact on the landscape but its considered that its lattice construction would reduce that.
“In this case we consider that the proposal accords with the development plan.”
Should proposals for a wind farm at Bodinglee be submitted to the Scottish Government, South Lanarkshire Council would be a statutory consultee and would be able to object to the proposals.