Planning Overview

This page is a source for the links and materials needed to understand the planning procedure and to make rational objections, based on planning law as it stands, to the proposed wind farms. It is an ongoing project, and comments are welcome. For detailed information on individual wind farms, please go to their individual pages on this site: Knockcronal, Craiginmoddie, Sclenteuch, Knockkippen, Carrick, Clauchrie and Knockodhar

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In Brief

Wind farms are now planned almost all around Straiton and the surrounding communities.

  1. Knockcronal about 4km south of Straiton, 9 turbines, 6 at 200m and 3 at 180m high, it’s located up the Girvan valley on Knockcronal and Halfmark Rig. A planning application has been made, deadline for representations is 2 February 2022. Developer is Statkraft.
  2. Sclenteuch between Straiton, Kirkmichael and Waterside. 9 turbines at 180m and 200m high. Currently in scoping, application expected in spring 2022. Developer is RES Group. Ref ECU00003318.
  3. Craiginmoddie near Dailly, Barr and Crosshill. 14 turbines 200m high. A planning application has been made. Deadline for representations was 13 December although an extension is possible, email Enegry Consents Unit at representations@gov.scot or through the website www.energyconsents.scot and request and extension if you require it. Developer is EnergieKontor. Ref ECU00002196.
  4. Carrick in the Galloway Forest Park, south of Knockcronal. 17 turbines up to 200m high. A planning application has been made. Deadline for representations is 28 May 2022. Developer is ScottishPower Renewables. Ref ECU00002063
  5. Knockkippen near Waterside in the Doon Valley. 12 turbines at 180m high. Currently in scoping. Developer is Naturalis Energy Developments Ltd. Ref ECU00003322
  6. Clauchrie again this is in the Galloway Forest Park. A public inquiry has taken place and the Reporter is preparing his recommendations. Developer is ScottishPower Renewables.
  7. Knockodhar south of Barr. 32 turbines up to 200m high. Currently in scoping. Developer is REG Knockodhar Limited. Ref ECU00002153.

This rest of the information on this page is currently being updated. Please check back later.

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KEY DOCUMlENT II: South Ayrshire Council Local Development Plan 2014

The Plan was formally adopted in October 2014. The new Development Plan is currently being drawn up and is still to be formally adopted. When it is, it will supersede this one.

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KEY DOCUMENT II: South Ayrshire Council Local Development Plan, Supplementary Guidance; Wind Energy

This was adopted in December 2015 and contains some useful information regarding where wind energy proposals should be sited, and where they should not.

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KEY DOCUMENT III: Modified Proposed Local Development Plan 2 

As this replacement plan is undergoing an examination process, it is not yet adopted. Noting its present status, as the Council’s settled position on future planning policy it already carries weight as a consideration in planning determinations but does not override the adopted development plan above

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KEY DOCUMENT IV: Environment Act 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)

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KEY DOCUMENT IVa:

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KEY DOCUMENT V: Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Presentation (click to download)

Not so much a key document as an interesting one.

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KEY DOCUMENT VI:

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KEY DOCUMENT VII:

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KEY DOCUMENT VIII: Ayrshire and Clyde valley landscape capacity study (click to download)

Vital document used for assessing land use and suitability for wind farms. Much complex information. One point of interest: the Stinchar valley is listed in this document as of National significance and high value. The proposed Knockcronal site would be clearly visible from the tracks which border the upper Stinchar valley. Perhaps also from the lower valley towards Barr.

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KEY DOCUMENT IX:

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KEY DOCUMENT X:

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KEY DOCUMENT XI: Windfarms: distance from housing (click to download)

People are often concerned that wind farms might be too close to houses. There are no statutory limits in the UK. This document prepared for MPs at Westminster explains the planning guidance in different parts of the UK, with the different likely effects on the distance from housing. It should be noted that in Scotland there is a presumption (not binding but recommended) that windfarms should not be developed within 2Km of settlements (including villages). It should also very important to note that not only Straiton itself but the clusters of houses up the Girvan valley as far as Tairlaw are considered by Ayrshire planning as part of a settlement, and so entitled to the protection of a 2Km buffer. 

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KEY DOCUMENT XII: The economic impact of wind farms on Scottish tourism (click to download)
This report was commissioned by the Scottish Government from the tourism unit at Glasgow Caledonian University. It is a long, thorough and complex report. The Scottish Government has briefed the press that the report shows that Wind farms have no effect on Scottish tourism. This seems to me to be a mis-representation. Careful reading of the document shows that the situation is complex. But the authors point out that the developments that they consider had already been screened by existing planning laws so that a negative effect on tourism was prevented. In other words, permission had not been granted for wind farms in sensitive tourist areas, and those that were NOT in sensitive tourist areas did not have a detrimental effect on tourism. This may seem self-evident, but it is a very important point, emphasised several times within the document: and it essentially negates any broad claim that there is no effect on tourism.
“There is often strong hostility to developments at the planning stage on the
grounds of the scenic impact and the knock on effect on tourism. However
the most sensitive of these do not appear to have been given approval so
that where negative impacts on tourism might have been a real outcome
there is, in practice, no evidence of a negative effect.”
Scottish government survey on impact of windfarms on tourism, p67

It also states (p17)
“The research suggests that there is a need to make clearer to the general
public that in some “scenic/wilderness” areas they will not see large
commercial wind farms and that some other areas are positively marketed as
green centres of renewable energy. In this context it should be noted that this
research suggests that a few very large farms are better than a large number
of small farms. A number of medium size farms dispersed in a relatively small
area so that they become contiguous, is also not desirable. The current policy
on cumulative effects should thus be maintained.”

tourism report p. 272:
 “There is evidence, particularly in the literature review, that the impact of wind farms is
perceived to be greater on remoter, wilder landscapes. The local economies in these
areas also tend to be very fragile and tourism extremely important. SPP6 currently states
that designated areas should be protected.
The evidence in this study is that most tourists are unaware of these attempts and assume wind farms are spread uniformly throughout Scotland. It may be argued that marketing should try to make a distinction between “undeveloped” wilderness areas with minimal landscape intrusion and “green” rural areas like Caithness and North East Scotland where, as in Denmark, wind farms are accepted as a positive attribute.
Scotland’s National Scenic Areas and National Parks (and their buffer areas), shown in
Figure 13-1 could provide an appropriate framework for protection, not only from wind
farms but also from other even less desirable intrusions such as Grid Lines and Pylons. It
might be argued that the protection should perhaps be offered to all areas defined as of
“Great Landscape Value” provided this did not conflict with the marketing message of
unspoilt wilderness.”
tourism report p. 274:
“3. A few large farms would have less total negative impact on tourism than the
same number of turbines in medium and small farms
4. This is different from a large number of separate farms in the same area, which is
generally unpopular amongst tourists.
5. Most commentators suggest that wind farms in remote and scenic areas have a
larger negative impact. Consequently there is a case for the protection of
National Scenic Areas and National Parks.”
tourism report p. 184:
“As a general rule the further the tourist was away from Scotland the more they believed
wind farms were more extensive than they actually are and the less they apparently
minded. One marked feature was a failure to recognise that permission for
developments in “highly scenic areas” are not normally allowed. There is an argument for
either more National Parks or for a rigorous marketing of the concept of a National
Scenic Area.
A substantial minority would either avoid an area or Scotland all together if the number
of wind farms increases substantially.”

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The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere has now been officially recognised by UNESCO. You will find details of it on the biosphere website and on UNESCO’s website. Below is a sketch map of the Biosphere from the Biosphere website. It shows that the upper Girvan valley down to just below Tairlaw (where it changes course) lies inside the “buffer” zone of the biosphere, which is conceived as “protecting the biospheres”. This buffer zone would have implications for two of the windfarms planned near Straiton.

GSA-biosphere-map

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The Galloway Forest Dark Sky park is recognised nationally and locally as a tourist asset. The map below shows the extent of both the Dark Sky Park and its (vital) buffer zone. The boundary of the buffer zone is contiguous with the southern edge of the Knockcronal windfarm.

dkskies

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A useful site for finding out about the many archaeological sites around Straiton and district is the West of Scotland Archaeological Service, which has a searchable database. A search for “Straiton” lists 256 separate sites. You could also try the database at Scotland’s Places which is sponsored by a number of major Scottish institutions. See the jpg below for an image of archaeological sites in the area, as mapped by the Ayrshire Joint Planning Steering Group. Archaeological sites are the faint orangey-pink blobs. There is a large number in the area of the proposed Linfairn windfarm: click here to see the detailed archaeological site information on the Linfairn page.
archaeological-sites-general

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1 thought on “Planning Overview

  1. Windfarm technology has already been discredited. With their low efficiency they could not provide energy in a High Demand period if there was not wind. Clearly the programme is just a massive gravy train for Investment Bankers, Land Owners, Local Authorities, and Scottish Government. As some of the developers have been set up purely to exploit the cash option, I suspect they will disappear at an early future date. Has Government required the developers to lodge a Performance Bond to guard against this eventuallity?

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