Linfairn Windfarm: What’s new and what’s next?

Straiton residents (or ‘receptors’ as we are known, now we are in the planning system)  should have received their leaflet yesterday from Willowind – telling us everything that we expected them to.  That they were submitting their vastly scaled back plans to the Scottish Government on Friday (27th September), and of course how busy they have been working so so closely with the community over the last 8 months…

So what’s new?

An initial glance at the planning submission does not show any major changes to the 25 turbines that were in the initial  scoping report.   There is a new mist free version of the below photomontage taken from the Craigengower Monument, with no trees or hills in the way to detract from the true impact of both of the Linfairn sites.    Thousands of tourists a year driving through the upper Girvan Valley into the Galloway Forest Park and beyond will now surely be pleasantly distracted from that long boring journey as they gaze at the 126.5m structures almost toppling over the Inner Genoch Hill…

linfairn new no writing

The Westerly Linfairn site (on the Dyke / Knockgardner side of the hill) looks equally tragic. If you happen to be standing on top of the Craigengower Hill looking West,  you may soon be able to marvel at how the giant metal structures in the foreground draw your eye away from that ugly rock on the horizon that we have come to know as Ailsa Craig..

Linfairn west View

What’s next

To allow our supporters to make an informed decision about the Linfairn Windfarm, we have uploaded  all the documentation to the SSfS website for you.  you can find this here.

We are also preparing a ‘how to object’ page with some key topics and templates which you should get details of later this week.  There will also be a leaflet delivered locally, explaining the process, key dates and next steps.   There is no need to panic – we have until the 8th November, our team of experts already have the documentation,  and there are already several pages of objection points written based on the small amount of information we have looked at so far – so don’t worry – there will be plenty to go around!

In all, our applicants have not failed to disappoint in the tone and quality of their submission, and as such we are going to be busy articulating all the issues we have found to date.  Please in the meantime be patient, but be ready to act when the time comes!  If you are reading through the documents and find any errors or inconsistencies please do let us know and we will add them to the list!

Coming soon to a beautiful river valley near you …

Well folks, at last, our investment bank led developers, Willowind, have finally confirmed through the Carrick Gazette that they will be submitting their Linfairn Windfarm planning documents to the Scottish Government, Energy Consents Unit this Friday (27th September). The full article can be viewed here.

It has been a busy 8 months for them, sorting out their ‘single site’ access route, and liaising closely with the local community in order to revise the plans (which still appear to contain the 25 turbines cited in their initial scoping documents). Martin Davie from the  Willowind project team commented on how it is ‘…especially pleasing to have had such active involvement from local people in getting the plans to the application stage – we’ve gone to great lengths to respond to the issues raised with us about this development, and have included a number of measures in our application which we believe fully address them.’  At SSfS we very much look forward to seeing the revised plans and preparing our responses to these.

In the meantime, please keep an eye out for further posts regarding next steps. As per the presentation last week, we will be preparing letters and templates to help people with their objections. The final objection date is the 11th November 2013.  Planning application documents will be available for public viewing at South Ayrshire Council planning office and Maybole Library.

Please also feel free to leave a comment on this post if you have been party to any of the mystery communications with Willowind that have addressed your concerns, and that you would like us to consider when preparing our own submissions.

Yet again we’re blown away by your support!

Another  great turnout on Wednesday night for the Linfairn windfarm information evening.  A packed hall with an extremely positive and energetic presentation led by our Chairman, Bill Steven!  A few people let us know they would not be able to make it along, so we have put a copy of the presentation online.  to access this and remind yourself how far we have come please click here.

Most people at the meeting were able to sign an objection letter for the massive South Kyle Windfarm near Dalmellington.  Anyone who didn’t get a chance can now object online (it’s really simple – you only need to complete your name and address in order to do this).  It would be great to show support for our neighbours over the hill who, like us are getting swamped with applications.

Finally, following some discussion on the night, we have posted the SNH / South Ayrshire Council  Landscape Wind Capacity Study.  This is a key  document, which couldn’t have come at a better time for us so it is well worth taking a look as it will certainly form one part of our upcoming objection. To help you find the relevant section, Linfairm windfarm is proposed on the following landscape types:

CHARACTER TYPE 13: INTIMATE PASTORAL VALLEYS:  Within the Water of Girvan Valley, ‘the assessment found no scope for the large and medium typologies (turbines>50m) to be accommodated’

CHARACTER TYPE 17C: FOOTHILLS WITH FOREST AND WIND FARM: ‘There is very limited scope for the large typology (turbines >70m) to be accommodated within this landscape.  Turbines should be well set back from the more sensitive outer edge of these foothills to avoid significant impact on the ‘landmark’ hills’ (eg Genoch inner hill)  ‘…which form highly visible containing edges to the smaller-scale settled Stinchar and Girvan Water valleys’.

Thanks again for all your support! As always, let us know if you have any questions, and keep looking out for further information and dates regarding the Linfairn windfarm application.

UN rules in favour of Argyllshire Community Councillor

Reported in the Telegraph at the end of August was an article about how the UN had ruled in favour of Christine Metcalf that the UK Government had acted illegally by denying the public decision-making powers over the approval of wind farms.

It went on to state “The United Nations Economic Commission Europe declared that the UK flouted Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention, which states that citizens must be allowed to fully participate in environmental issues.

It also criticised the UK’s failure to give people the “necessary information” about the benefits or negative impacts of turbines in a ruling that could call into question the legal validity of future wind farms unless Government policy is changed.

Mrs Metcalfe took her case to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland after becoming increasingly frustrated when trying to access information about a wind farm built near her Taynuilt home. The community councillor argued that the UK’s renewables policies had been drawn up in such a way that it denied the public the right to be informed. She claimed this prevented people from learning of the negative effects that wind power can have on health, the environment and the economy.”

In view of this it might well be worth mentioning the Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention in any letters of objection.

Are you ready for more windfarms? Radio Scotland: Fri 13th Sept, 8:50am

kayeTune in to Radio Scotland tomorrow morning for an interesting debate.   Kaye Adams asks   ‘if you are ready for more wind farms’.  This is in response to the recently published  Audit Scotland report which suggests Renewable power “needs to double” to meet the 2020 targets.  She will be joined by the Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.  Scotland against Spin Chairman Graham Lang is also on call as is Scottish Tory Energy spokesman Murdo Fraser.

Linfairn Windfarm – Information Meeting: Wednesday 11th September


This is the developer’s own shocking Photomontage taken from the Monument looking towards one section of the Linfairn Windfarm.

Dear Supporter,

You may have been wondering about the progress of Linfairn Windfarm given that considerable time has passed since the public exhibition was held back in January.  At that point we were told final plans would be submitted around March 2013.

The SSfS committee have been trying to contact the developers (Willowind) to pin down more detail regarding progress and timescales.   Last week, and thanks to Chic Brodie MSP, who has been liaising closely with SSfS, a meeting was held with Willowind. Our Chairman Bill Steven was allowed to attend with one other committee member.

Below are the key dates which came out of the meeting. These are subject to change however, we wanted to share with you all as soon as possible and prepare everyone for the next steps.

Friday 6th September 2013

As this is a Section 36 (over 50 MW) application, Willowind plan to submit their application to the Energy Consents Unit part of the Scottish Government.

Willowind also plan to give a full copy of their application documents to South Ayrshire Council, SSfS, and Maybole Library.

Saturday 7th September / Sunday 8th September 2013

Willowind to arrange for hand delivered leaflets to all local addresses (and email addresses) outlining the progress they have made over the last few months through ‘listening’ to local concerns and updating their plans accordingly ready for the next steps. Unlike other developers in the area, Willowind do not intend to hold a further public meeting to discuss any changes. However it is understood the 25 turbines still remain.

Tuesday 10th September / Wednesday 11th September

1st round of adverts will be submitted to the Glasgow Herald and Edinburgh Gazette / Ayrshire Post.

Tuesday 17th September / Wednesday 18th September

2nd round of adverts will be submitted to the Edinburgh Gazette / Ayrshire Post.

Monday 21st October

Last date for public objections.

Monday 20th January 2014

Final date for South Ayrshire Council response – note it is very likely this will be delayed.

Next Steps

There is going to be a lot of activity of the next few weeks, and we are all going to have to part to play in this. SSfS cannot do this without your support, so are holding a public meeting on Wednesday 11th September at 7:30 pm in the McCandlish Hall, Straiton.  SSfS will take you through the plans for the coming weeks and give you an opportunity to ask any questions and highlight any concerns. If you are from the local area and support our cause, please make every effort to be there.