Knockcronal

The proposed turbines would dwarf Col Hunter Blair’s Monument

Please help us to stop the proposed Knockcronal Wind Farm by registering your objection at www.energyconsents.scot/ApplicationDetails.aspx?cr=ECU00002181 (follow the ‘representation’ link) or e-mail econsents_admin@gov.scot quoting Ref ECU00002181.

The closing date for representations has been extended to 30 June 2022.

Photo montage showing turbines dominating Girvan valley south of Straiton

• The proposed Knockcronal Wind Farm in the Girvan Valley, south of Straiton, comprises nine turbines up to 200 m high plus battery storage. It is situated on a 540 hectare site, within the South Ayrshire Council area, 4.8 km south of Straiton and 11.3 km south-west of Dalmellington. Six of the turbines will be at 200 m high (155 m rotor diameter, 122.5 m hub height) and three turbines at 180 m (155 m rotor diameter, 102.5 m hub height) with a turbine combined capacity of 59.4 MW. The developers are Statkraft, a Norwegian state owned company, the largest renewable energy generator in Europe.

• This application is on the same site as Linfairn Wind Farm (withdrawn). Linfairn attracted in excess of 6,500 objections. MSPs, MP and councillors from all political parties were unanimous in their opposition. 

• The site will be highly visible in an area which presently has little wind farm visibility.

• Save Straiton for Scotland does not object to wind power, but developments have to be in the right place in terms of scale, overdevelopment, landscape and a range of other factors.

• The proposed turbines at 200m would be 10 times taller than the Col Hunter Blair’s monument above Straiton and would be considerably taller than the existing 125 m high turbines at Dersalloch and 110m high turbines at Hadyard Hill, the two nearest operational wind farms, exacerbating the problems of contrast of scale, increased visibility and impact. They will each sweep an area equivalent to four football pitches.

Overdevelopment
The area is already saturated with wind farm development. Wind farms within 10 km of the proposed Development include Sclenteuch (9 turbines at 200m, 4km), Dersalloch (23 turbines at 125 m high, 4 km distance), Hadyard Hill (51 turbines at 110 m high, 7 km distance), Craiginmoddie (at planning), 14 turbines at 200 m high, 3.7 km distance) and Carrick (at planning), 200 m high, 13 turbines at 0 distance, bordering Knockcronal). There are over 20 further wind farms (operational, under construction or at appeal/planning) within a 20 km radius of this proposed development. South Ayrshire Council state: “There is no scope for very large turbines (>130 m high) to be accommodated in this landscape.”

Landscape
A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment has been carried out and discusses the proposed developments of Knockcronal as well as planned developments at Craiginmoddie, Clauchrie and Carrick as redefining the area as a ‘wind farm landscape character type’ if consented. This is a wholly unacceptable approach as none of these have, so far, been consented and the area is presently open moorland and forest. The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment found significant landscape effects for the Water of Girvan Valley and in the upper Water of Girvan valley – an area also designated as a Pastoral Valley – a rare and special natural landscape type, and one of only 3 in Ayrshire.

Dark Sky Park
The proposed Development is in the transition zone, (adjacent to the buffer zone), of the Dark Sky Park which will suffer adverse effects from turbine lighting. Turbines >150 m high are required to be fitted with aviation obstruction lighting. Galloway Forest Park holds the prestigious ‘Gold Tier’ Dark Skies Park status and is a key tourist draw to this area. 

The Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere
The proposed Development is a threat to UNESCO’s Galloway and Southern Ayrshire’s Biosphere Reserve and Scotland’s UNESCO Trail. Newly launched in October 2021, the UNESCO Trail is a world first and includes Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve. The UNESCO Biosphere is an area recognised internationally as a world class environment for people and nature, acknowledged for its natural qualities.

Access routes
Two access routes have been identified but none chosen yet. New access tracks include 5.7 km for the route west (and a loss of 3.46 ha of woodland) and 6.2 km for the northern route (with a loss of 3.65 ha of woodland). Both of these are along narrow, little used country roads.

Turbine noise
Regarding turbine noise, the baseline noise levels have been taken from the Linfairn application, with some additional work. So far there has only been one occasion where turbines of this size were constructed: at Hunterston where the noise was far more intrusive than predicted. Predicted noise levels claim to take account of the potential combined effect of the proposed Development along with Dersalloch (operational), Hadyard Hill (operational), Craiginmoddie (at planning) and Carrick (at planning).