Linfairn update: new public exhibitions in July

Suitable for 19 turbines? Ayrshire people don't think so.

Suitable for 19 giant turbines?   Ayrshire people don’t think so.

WilloWind, the developers behind the proposed Linfairn wind farm, plan to drop the six turbines nearest to Straiton (the northern half of their original proposal). However they are still keen on the idea of up to 19 turbines in the southern section – lining one side of the Girvan valley south of Straiton.

There will be a series of public exhibitions regarding the revised plans for Linfairn:

  • Wednesday 9th July at the McCandlish Hall, Straiton: 2pm to 7.30pm
  • Thursday 10th July at Maybole Town Hall: 2pm to 7.30pm
  • Friday 11th July at Dailly Community Centre: 2pm to 7.30pm

Proposing up to 19 turbines (each 2.5 Mw) suggests that the maximum output of the new proposed farm is likely to be below the threshold of a Section 36 application: we would urge that the application be withdrawn from consideration as a Section 36 application and resubmitted to South Ayrshire Council in the normal way.

Bill Steven, chair of Save Straiton for Scotland had the following to say today:

“It is extremely disappointing and worrying that a so-called professional wind farm developer would insist on trying to convince a community for over a year and a half that Linfairn was one wind farm when it was obvious to every other professional body that it was clearly two separate wind farms, and this was a crude attempt to create a section 36 application.

Dropping the Dyke / Knockgardner leg with six turbines obviously had to happen: as Scottish Natural Heritage objected to that part of the proposal within weeks of the application being lodged. The remaining nineteen turbines flaunt South Ayrshire Council guidelines with regards to position, size and scale: and Scottish Natural Heritage make it clear they recommend WilloWind follow SAC guidelines. Doing so would dramatically alter the picture: indeed it would put in question all the remaining nineteen turbines, yet WilloWind continue to ignore SAC guidelines and SNH advice.
Most worrying of all is the fact WilloWind totally ignore local feeling and the people of Ayrshire. Almost 6,000 people objected to Linfairn Wind Farm … the biggest single objection to any wind farm in Scotland … yet WilloWind make no comment and say they are listening. Linfairn Wind Farm remains a totally inappropriate application and Save Straiton for Scotland will continue to object until common sense prevails. The Scottish Government make it plain … it has to be the right application in the right place … and Linfairn is the wrong application in the wrong place.
Mr Atwal, please be in no doubt: your application in Straiton is neither welcome nor is it appropriate, and offers of money are nothing more than a bribe. We would ask you to truly listen to the people of Straiton and Ayrshire and withdraw this application as soon as possible. We look forward to the public meetings in July.”
So please come to the public exhibitions and make your feelings known there! If you are particularly adversely affected by the proposals, you could ask for a meeting with Mr Suki Atwal, the new director of WilloWind Energy Ltd. He asks for people to contact him through his colleague Clarke Heron of Invicta Public Affairs on 0141 212 7222 or clarke.heron@invictapa.co.uk. Click here for the full text of WilloWind’s letter to Linfairn stakeholders.

 

Dersalloch News

The site of Dersalloch
The photo (taken from Bennan Hill) shows the site where SPR plan to put their 23 giant turbines: in the front, the Doonans, behind, Trostan Hill, Big Hill of the Baing, and snow-covered in the distance is Cairnsmore of Carsphairn. This beautiful hill country is on the borders of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, and the turbines will be visible from the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory (not to mention Ayr and Troon!). Don’t let them do it!

The good news is that South Ayrshire is maintaining their objection, so it should go to a Public Inquiry. Make sure your opinion is heard too, before the 28th March. If you haven’t already done so, you can click here to object.

Glenmount deadline extended to 10th March

from Craiglee

This beautiful photo shows exactly the area (between lochs Finlas and Doon) which would be covered by turbines if the Glenmount proposal goes ahead. (Click here to see other equally stunning images of this walk up to the summit of Craiglee).

Does the area look empty? It might interest you to know that the developers’ own bird surveys have revealed that the area of the proposed wind farm is used by no fewer that 84 species of birds, of 44 are of conservation concern.  An amazing 40 species (24 of them threatened) actually have breeding territories on the site. Species seen at Glenmount, and protected by law, include Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, Merlin, Peregrine, Goshawk, Hobby, Black Grouse, Golden Plover, Curlew … we can provide the full list if you’d like.

Still want to object? There’s time – the deadline has been extended to 10th March: click here to be re-directed to the objection page.

A Sense of Scale

Whitelee Wind Farm, 09/06/13, © J MeuliIt’s very hard to get a sense of how big the wind turbines around Straiton might be. I have uploaded to the Gallery page a series of photographs from Whitelee wind farm taken on a sunny day just a week ago. They show people, dogs (and birds) in relation to the Whitelee turbines. The Whitelee turbines now count as babies amongst wind turbines: those in this series of Whitelee photos are 110m high. Most of the turbines proposed around Straiton are around 125m, with a group (those at Keirs Hill) at 150m.

Whitelee wind farm is well worth a visit, as others have already pointed out on this website (see the opinion page): and as they have said, the extensive Fenwick moors on which Whitelee is situated have a completely different landscape quality from the variegated hills and valleys which surround Straiton.

Consultants update

As you know, one of the principal reasons for our fundraising drive (a fantastically successful one so far!) has been to enable Save Straiton for Scotland to employ consultants to help us to present our objections to the individual wind farms in the best possible way. Their job is to make sense of the complex planning regulations and guidelines which apply to wind farms at both local and national level, and to write and present reports outlining legitimate objections at the appropriate time.

We have secured the services of a highly knowledgeable technical team – one that is probably more experienced than any other in assessing and presenting thorough planning policy objections to wind farms and wind turbines. The core of the team will be Ian Kelly MRTPI and Mark Steele. Ian, who is an experienced planning advisor with Graham and Sibbald, chartered surveyors, will address planning policy and the overall administration of the case. Mark, a Chartered Landscape Architect and a member of the Landscape Institute, with over 25 years’ experience of landscape planning and design, will address landscape and visual impacts. These two areas are absolutely key – every wind farm rejection has rested on planning policy and/or landscape.

If needed, we can also draw on the services of Dick Bowdler to address noise issues and John Campbell QC (who has already kindly visited and given advice) on legal aspects.

The team’s services have been engaged initially to help present arguments against Linfairn wind farm, which will be the first to seek planning permission.

There are many broader aspects that rightly concern us about the proposed wind farms, but there is no doubt that eventual decision will be made entirely on recognised planning policy grounds. It is on planning policy alone that the team will be concentrating, to give us all the best chance of successfully making our case.

The team have all agreed to work within the limits of the funds that we have and the budget will be carefully monitored.

In addition to this team, and following advice by Adam Ingram MSP, we are also being ably assisted through Planning aid for Scotland, by Mark Russell.

The Orion Nebula

Orion_Nebula_dyke_310110_we_

baby_owl_1611
Two photos by Andy Hardy of Dyke cottage – the Orion nebula in all its glory taken in 2010, and a young tawny owl (2011). The shots were taken from Dyke cottage, which abuts one section of the proposed new Linfairn windfarm. Andy points out “If the proposal goes ahead shots like these are going to be a thing of the past.”

Bank Account

Save Straiton for Scotland now has a bank account set up. So please get those donations rolling in. You can donate directly online to the bank account. All details are on the Donate page, which also reminds you why we need the funds!