Would you buy a house near a wind farm? Vote today!

A new report confirms what we all knew anecdotally, which is that house prices fall within sight of wind farms.

High Tralorg, near Girvan

High Tralorg, near Girvan

If you would like, you can download the full LSE report here: Gone with the Wind: Valuing the Visual Impacts of Wind Turbines through House Prices by Stephen Gibbons.

And so to today’s key question Would you buy a house near a wind farm? You can cast your vote at the BBC Countryfile website

Hadyard Hill Extension and Exhibitions

As if recent proposals near Loch Doon weren’t bad enough we regret to note that SSE are hoping to extend their wind farm at Hadyard Hill, near Barr by a whopping 51 turbines with a height of 126.5m. These would join the existing 52 turbines making a total of 103 turbines in yet another particularly scenic part of South West Scotland.

They are holding two exhibitions; the first is on Tuesday 29th April, 3pm – 8pm in the Community Centre, Dailly, the second is on Wednesday 30th April, 3pm – 8pm in Barr Community Hall. If you can manage to go along and let SSE know how you feel about their plans to extend the wind farm then please do so.

The extension would be north eastwards, towards Crosshill and Straiton and crosses over the minor road between Straiton/Crosshill and Barr. Click on the maps to see a larger version with more detail.

Microsoft Word - UK1219606_ScopingReport_4.docx

Proposed Site Boundary

Microsoft Word - UK1219606_ScopingReport_4.docx

Proposed Turbine Locations

To read the Scoping Report (5.3mb) click here.

Knockower wind farm, contd.

Just to keep you updated on what the developers have curiously called “Knockower Community Windfarm”, and in case you were wondering why you had never heard of the vibrant community of Knockower in Dumfries and Galloway.

Knockower is a hill. A rather beautiful wild hill, just next to Coran of Portmark. We hope that the proposal doesn’t get any further, but if it does, we look forward to attending community meetings there, as the views will be great, but hope it won’t be too cold.

Knockower, from Loch Doon, photo M. Ferrier

Knockower, from Loch Doon, photo M. Ferrier

Knockower from Loch Doon, photo Dave Hancox

Knockower from Loch Doon, photo Dave Hancox

Knockower from Carsphairn, photo Linda Fairbairn

Knockower from Carsphairn, photo Linda Fairbairn

Below the photos, we have put in the map, just to remind you – Knockower-constraints-mapand yes, the proposed turbines are all over Knockower, and up onto the slopes of Coran of Portmark. The nearest actual communities to Knockower are Carsphairn (3.7km) and Dalmellington (10.5km), who already have plenty of proposed windfarms on their doorsteps, and probably don’t need any more educational visits just at the moment.

You might also like to know that all of the wind farms proposed by this particular renewables company are called “community wind farms” according to their website, but not everybody likes the idea of a private company (making plenty of private profit) calling its wind farms “community wind farms”, when they are not planned, owned or managed by communities at all. The good folk of Davidstow in North Cornwall (also targeted by Community Windpower ltd.) have issued the following disclaimer:

“DAVIDSTOW COMMUNITY WINDFARM” – PLEASE NOTE DAVIDSTOW COMMUNITY WINDFARMS is not a local community project. It is run solely by Community Windpower Ltd, a profit-making business. The ‘project’ has no connection with any group or individual in Davidstow.

See the Davidstow disclaimer here.

Community Windpower ltd. is registered at Godscroft House, Godscroft Lane Frodsham, Warrington, Cheshire, WA6 6XU. It has two directors: Mr Roderick Michael Haydn Wood, and Mrs Diane Ailsa Wood.

One further thing: the turbines proposed on Knockower hill are in the landscape “Character Type 21: Rugged Granite Uplands” according to the Dumfries and Galloway Wind Farm Landscape Capacity Study (p. 155). The report states: “The landscape of the
Rugged Granite Uplands has an overall High sensitivity to larger typologies of wind farm
development. This landscape type is highly visible and well used for recreation. It would have a High visual sensitivity to larger development typologies. The presence of a Regional Scenic Area, a Wildland Search Area and the Galloway Forest Park increases sensitivity to larger typologies to High in terms of landscape values.” It concludes that “There is no scope for larger typologies and the small-medium typology to be sited within this character type without incurring significant impacts on a number of key characteristics.” Well, we couldn’t put it better. You can download the D&G Wind Farm Landscape Capacity Study here.

Goodbye Southwest Scotland?

Windfarms-in-southwest-ScotlandThis map is from the scoping proposals for Knockower Wind farm (see our post earlier today). It shows the wind farms which are currently operational or in various stages of planning or scoping in Southwest Scotland. Click on the map and you will see it in a more detailed PDF format.

The larger of the two circles (the purple one) is a circle of 35km radius from the proposed Knockower Wind farm on Loch Doon. Just within this circle, no fewer than 870 turbines are currently built, approved, or in the planning or scoping process. The list is as follows (courtesy of the Knockower wind farm scoping document):

Wind farms within 35 km of Knockower
Site Turbine height (m) No. Turbines
Wether Hill 91 14
Windy Standard 100 36
Hare Hill 63.5 20
Hadyard Hill 110 52
Mark Hill 110 28
Arecleoch 135 60
Sanquhar 130 12
Windy Standard Extension 100 30
Whiteside Hill 121.2 13
Blackcraig 110 23
Tralorg 100 8
Kilgallioch 146.5 96
Spango 145 14
South Kyle 149.5 50
Margree 125 25
Ulzieside 125 12
Sandy Knowe 125 30
Hare Hill Extension 2 96 39
Afton 120 27
Kype Muir 125 & 132 26
Ashmark Hill 116 7
High Cumnock 132 8
Garleffan 135 9
Burnhead 100 8
Dersalloch 115 & 125 23
Sclenteuch/Keirs Hill 149 17
Glenmount 130 19
Assel Valley 110 11
Breaker Hill 86.5 9
Corwar 126 8
Longburn 135 25
Twentyshilling Hill 125 9
Altercannoch 125 10
Penbreck 125 9
Mochrum Fell 126.5 11
Collieston Hill 141.4 18
Lethans 132 – 140 29
Linfairn 126.5 25
Total no. turbines   870


Knockower wind farm

Knockower-location-plan Knockower-location-plan-2Knockower Wind Farm (16 turbines, at a huge 145 metres, totalling 48MW) has recently been proposed by Community Windpower Ltd for the eastern shores of Loch Doon. It is in the scoping stage (i.e. they haven’t yet applied for planning permission). If and when they do apply for permission, it will be to Dumfries and Galloway Council in the first instance.

Community Windpower Ltd (CWL) was formed in 2001 and is an independent UK company. They have four operational wind farms; Dalry in North Ayrshire (18 MW), Aikengall in East Lothian (48 MW), Millour Hill (18 MW) (extension to Dalry) and Calder Water in South Lanarkshire (39 MW). They have planning permission for three more, which will increase their portfolio to 286 MW of wind energy projects.

Although the word “community” features very large in their documentation, they are a profit-making renewables company whose proposals for “community benefit” are not radically different from those of any of the other major players in the renewables industry. As yet they have no particular proposals for the community benefits which will accrue from Knockower, other than that they will be “offering educational presentations throughout the design, construction and operational phases of the proposed development. These educational presentations will also be made available to other community groups in the area such as after school clubs, and local adult groups.” So that’s alright then.

The scoping document is available here as a PDF (7Mb): Knockower-windfarm-scoping


Corwar wind farm appeal dismissed – and Martin Davie to leave WilloWind

Corwar-site-layout Corwar-location-map
Two pieces of news from WilloWind: first, relief for the residents of Barrhill, as Corwar Wind Farm is finally rejected at appeal. Second,  WilloWind is to close its Edinburgh office, and say farewell to Martin Davie as CEO. Read on for both press releases:

Press Release: Corwar Wind Farm Appeal Dismissed. Willowind Energy Ltd was informed on 19th February 2014 that an appeal against the decision of South Ayrshire Council to refuse planning consent for an 8 turbine scheme for Corwar Wind Farm with a total site capacity of 16.4MW, was dismissed by Michael J P Cunliffe, a Reporter appointed by the Scottish Ministers. The Reporter concluded that the scheme would have significant adverse impacts which would outweigh its benefits, and that it would not accord with the development plan as a whole. He decided that were no material considerations which would in his view justify granting planning permission in the face of that conclusion.
A WilloWind Energy Ltd spokesperson said “We are extremely disappointed at the Reporter’s decision as we believed that we had very strong grounds for appeal. Intensive investigation and analysis is undertaken to identify appropriate sites for all our projects and we still consider this site to be an excellent location for the size of wind farm that we proposed.” An appeal against the refusal of planning permission by South Ayrshire Council on 29th August 2013 was submitted to Scottish Ministers on 27th November 2013.

More details on the reporter’s comments:

 In rejecting the appeal the reporter appointed by the Scottish Government referred to the landscape and visual effects of the turbines including cumulative impacts as well as the effects on residential amenity and the contribution to renewable energy targets. The reporter states: “Corwar would exert a greater influence over the appreciation of the valley landscape as appreciated when travelling east along the A714 since it would close the view to the head of the valley. “It would be intermittently visible between Pinwherry and Barrhill and again between Barrhill and the limit of the landscape character type. “The section of the B7027 south-east of Barrhill also offers a good view of the landscape characteristics of the valley. “I consider that the proposed turbines would be clearly visible from here and would appear out of scale with the characteristic valley features.” The reporter went on to say: “In my opinion the additional effect of the Corwar Turbines over and above that of Mark Hill would be disproportionate to their number.” He added: “I conclude that significant cumulative effects would be experienced within about 12 kilometres of the site.”

Press release: WilloWind Energy announces closure of Edinburgh office and departure of CEO

WilloWind Energy has today announced the closure of its Edinburgh office as part of a wider restructuring that will also see the departure of Martin Davie as CEO. The changes come following an in depth review of WilloWind’s operational structure. The new structure being put in place will ensure the most effective delivery of the organisation’s strategic goals. WilloWind Director Suki Atwal will take over responsibility for the operations in Scotland with immediate effect. Suki was raised and educated in Glasgow and has spent nearly two decades working in energy and infrastructure including renewable energy. Suki has been a Director of WilloWind since its formation in February 2010. Management of existing sites is unaffected by these changes. A spokesperson for WilloWind Energy said: “We would like to thank Martin for his commitment and passion in taking the organisation to where it is today and wish him all the best for the future. We now look forward to the next stage in the company’s development and the delivery of a number of exciting projects across the country.”