As many of you will have heard, yesterday afternoon (strangely coinciding with the opening of the Commonwealth Games which naturally the media and press will be focused on for the next few weeks) Dersalloch Windfarm – approx 2km East of Straiton, was approved directly by Scottish energy Minister, Fergus Ewing. The article regarding this decision can be viewed here.
After a 7 year battle which amassed close to 5000 objections (including objections from the Planning Authority – South Ayrshire Council), this has come as a particular blow, not only to the community of Straiton who are threatened by 5 developments all within a few kilometers of the village itself, but also the East Ayrshire communities of Dalmellington and beyond who have been striving so passionately to protect their programme of regeneration and tourism.
Be assured there will be questions asked and updates to follow – SSfS were repeatedly informed that this application would be going to Public Local Inquiry (PLI), at which point it would be given a full and proper review taking account of post 2005 changes in planning and landscape policy, cumulative impact, and the application itself in terms of access and location of turbines. It appears however, as can be seen from the Scottish Government decision letter, that there is a convenient ‘clause’ in the Electricity Act (see page 6), essentially meaning that the objections from South Ayrshire Council, did not in this case automatically trigger a PLI.
In addition to this PLI clause – the 4723 objections do not appear to have any bearing on the decision. It might be pertinent at this point to roll the clock back 18 months to a point where the national press was questioning the continual waiving through of windfarm applications despite 10,000 objections having been recieved directly by Scottish ministers (at that point between 2008 and 2013). A report in the Herald at the time quoted a representative for the Scottish Government saying “Scotland has open, inclusive and transparent planning processes which give the right protection to our magnificent landscapes, and which takes the views of local communities into account.” At SSfS we are struggling to reconcile yesterdays ‘under the carpet’ announcement with this ‘open inclusive and transparent’ planning process. Surely a PLI would have been the only way forward if the process was all of these things?
Whilst we gather our thoughts and get our heads together to discuss the next steps, please take some time to read the decision letter and feel free to let us know your thoughts on this issue. Be assured as soon as we have gathered a bit more info and got some more detail we will let you know.
Ok, so we’ve been royally screwed over.. Hardly surprising.
So now we need to say, “..wtf’s in it for us?” One thing we don’t need is some random landscaping and cute wee garden. We’re not natives and we don’t need no glass beads! £8.5M won’t cut it as far as I can see.. We want more, MUCH, MUCH, more to set a pecedent to any others who think the floodgates are now open..
This is a disgraceful decision – especially the devious excuse for avoiding a PI. I just could not believe that the 4723 individual objection were summarily dismissed without acknowledgement of the scale of this objection.
Once again, contrary to the requirements of the Aarhus Convention’s recent decision, the environmental assessment was provided by the developer and NOT independently by the determining authority as it should be. The arrogance of this government (and it’s superior disregarding of local/public opinion) seemingly knows no bounds – local democracy is anathema to ministers. A foretaste of what could come?
Thank you for the email update.
I missed this announcement. SG ministers responsible should be ashamed of themselves…..but they won’t be.
Nearly 5000 objections is an awful lot, given the population density. Hiding the bad news on a good day is despicable. I agree with gmlindsay’s comment above – where do local people’s opinions account?
As usual Alex Sammond and his cronies think they can do what they like. Despicable people but what can we expect from our politicians always trying to hide decisions they don’t what headlined in the media. Where is the local democracy he keeps on about?
Who gave the SNP the mandate to destroy the scottish countryside with this vanity project to have 100% renewables.
Roll on September and hopefully Alex will get a bloodied nose.
We will all have to start sharpening our pencils to let Alex Salmond and Fergus Ewing know that we demand an inquiry.
A wee thought -how much is the SNP bankrolled by the wind industry?
Why is Maybole community council even allowed to have a input in this decision
Have just read the news. Utterly shocking – but not at all surprising. I agree wholeheartedly with all of the comments already posted. “Democracy” seems to have been dropped from the SNP lexicon, if it ever had a place there in the first place.
I’m too numb to even make a comment…..
Did anyone notice on the decision letter, that the original date has been scrubbed out and the ’23rd July’ has been handwritten in – just to make sure it tied in with the press announcement that was made on the eve of the Commonwealth Games. I wonder how long the SG have really been sitting on this decision waiting to bury it at a time when it should get least publicity.
I didn’t notice this until you pointed it out Joanna – but is anyone surprised at their attempt to sneak this out when eyes were elsewhere????
And Soapy wants us to vote for him in September .If this is “Democracy” then pass the lifeboat it is time to sink his ship !
It beggars belief that a CONSERVATION village can be engulfed by these inefficient monstrosities.Sneaky tactics by our dictatorial govt.
This just confirms my earlier comment on another planning item about the recent upgrading of the B7045. The Dersalloch decision was taken a long time ago and the release date was obviously planned for the day of the opening of the games. Why upgrade the B7045 at all when the B741 is badly needing resurfaced, ..for turbine truck access, that’s why!
So where do we go from here?
Horrified by this decision and the timing of the announcement. Agree that the SG claim to have an open & transparent planning process does not sit well with its decision to use a clause in an act to circumnavigate its own policy.
I hope that an appeal can be lodged. The almost 5,000 objections, plus the special dark skies nature of the Dalmellington landscape and economy does not need this massive intrusion of this inefficient power generation development
L A Hackett
Hope I’m wrong but there seems to be an inordinate amount of HGV’s on the B7045 lately. I haven’t been up the hill to see if work has started yet, but its beginning to look like it.
This morning I was pushed onto the grass at Balminnoch Farm (yet again, ..usually by speeding log trucks though) by two enormous tippers driving at a ridiculous speed in the middle of the road.
What I want to know is what’s going to happen as regards limiting the speed of the thousands of truck trips we are now going to see on the B7045 before someone gets hurt.. What’s going to be done about that? I for one will be buying a driver recorder camera for evidence of this kind of bullying on the road.. This is something that needs to be addressed asap. If the deal is now rubber stamped, then its a case of damage limitation and compensation that we need to deal with..
We didn’t think they were coming up the B7045 for that particular wind farm – but we could be wrong?
We didn’t think the Dersalloch windfarm would be rubber stamped either. Having said that, there seems to have been a fair bit of road upgrading on the Dalmellington side of the hill road lately..
In what way is the community threatened by wind farms? “the community of Straiton who are threatened by 5 developments all within a few kilometers of the village itself”
In the bigger picture , this is the right decision … turbines are not the solution, but merely a step in conditioning and normalising attitudes towards alternative and renewable source of energy. They are environmental low impacting and temporary …. In 50 years time they will all be gone … but their legacy will be a society that understands and accepts the imperative to move away from carbon based energy sources.
I agree with you that alternative and renewable sources of energy need to be sought but disagree profoundly that the effects of this development will be low impact and temporary. Iconic views will be lost, when removed the developers would leave huge blocks of concrete in the ground – just covering over the top metre with soil. This is in an area of peat which, when degraded or dried out releases carbon into the atmosphere thus negating all suggested benefits. This area would be wrecked for many, many years for no carbon gain.
I agree that we have to look at renewable energy but you need to look beyond the glossy marketing of greedy financiers at just how destructive the building of these wind turbines are – when you start looking into how the metal for them is extracted, for instance. I never realised how awful this industry is until the threat (and yes, it IS a threat) to Straiton loomed over us and I started to research it more. Try the excellent website Scotland Against Spin to get more facts. Or maybe some people think it’s acceptable, for instance, to rape the landscape of a third world country just so that we can continue to keep our lights burnings in the UK? I don’t think so.