Oops! Ewe couldn’t make it up.

turbine on bridge

Click on the picture above to view the video clip

Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) managed to get their turbine stuck on top of a bridge on its way to Ewe Hill wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway.

Funnily enough the turbine size is similar to those at Dersalloch, plus there’s a similar bridge to negotiate at Cassillis on the B7045. Again SPR are going to remove the stone parapet – perhaps this time they’ll remember to remove the temporary railing first!

Watching the video gives you a good impression of the scale of the turbines and how disruptive it’s going to be for those living along the route including the village of Kirkmichael.


Have you been acknowledged?


If you’ve objected to Knockskae wind farm you ought to have received an acknowledgement from South Ayrshire Council. If you haven’t it could be that they have not received your objection, we’ve heard of some folks who’ve had to email three times before receiving an acknowledgment. Please persevere!

The Council continues to accept representations right up to the point they make their own report. We don’t know when that will be but it hasn’t happened yet.

If you have friends, family, neighbours and colleagues who you know would like to object to the ruination of our precious countryside please tell them to do so. We all need to do our bit to protect this beautiful corner of Scotland.


Click here and object to Knockskae Wind Farm now.

Enough is Enough

Ayrshire hasn’t escaped the realities of climate change this winter, Storm Frank brought devastation to our communities and flooding to homes, farms and fields. We all have to do our bit to save the planet.

But did you know that Ayrshire is already doing ten times more than the rest of the country?

Across the UK as a whole there is one wind turbine for every ten thousand people. Here in Ayrshire it’s more like one per thousand. If Knockskae Wind Farm was allowed to go ahead, together with the four other proposals that threaten our community, the picturesque parish of Straiton could end up with one giant industrial turbine for every three residents.

Ayrshire is already doing more, much more, than it’s ‘fair share’ and the Scottish Government is already over-achieving on its renewables targets.

We say: “enough is enough”.

We need to protect what’s left of the beautiful scenery in our corner of Scotland. We need to protect the Merrick Wild Land Area from being irretrievably undermined, the Unesco Biosphere from being plundered and the Dark Sky Park from any more light pollution

We need to protect the jobs and small businesses that rural tourism supports.

We need to protect our homes – disturbing the peat and deforesting the hillsides to plant wind farms will only serve to reduce the ability of our hills and river valleys to cope with next winter’s storms. The thousands of heavy constructions vehicles thundering through conservation villages will cause severe vibration in centuries-old cottages, never built to withstand such an onslaught.

Please tell Ayrshire Council that ‘enough is enough’. The people of Ayrshire have already done more than the rest of the country, we simply can’t afford to give away any more of our countryside.

Click here and object to Knockskae Wind Farm now.

Please object now to Knockskae and save our landscape

The spectacular view from Guiltreehill

The spectacular view from Guiltreehill

After carefully looking over the Application to build Knockskae wind farm with 11 turbines, each 126.5m high, with miles of access tracks and associated infrastructure, we firmly believe this would be totally inappropriate in this landscape.

More importantly it would have a severe impact on several homes nearby causing shadow flicker and noise pollution. We think this is unacceptable.

The traffic route proposed passes down Kirkland Street in Maybole with its two primary school and known traffic issues. From here is passes through the conservation village of Crosshill, past the cemetery, over the crossroads and right next to Auchalton SSSI via a new track enclosing this important site. This road is also part of National Cycle Route 7.

All the documentation is available on South Ayrshire Council’s website, click here to view. Alternatively we have uploaded some of the most important documents which can be accessed by clicking on our Knockskae Planning Submission page.

If you feel the same as we do and wish to protect our neighbours homes and our beautiful landscape please object now. You can do this simply and easily by going to our online objection form here and filling out your details which will go directly to South Ayrshire Council.

To read some suggested objection points or download a post card, click here.

It only takes a few minutes, please take the time to help us by 31 December 2015. Thank you.



A selection of slides from the Chair's presentation

A big thank you to all who turned up on an inclement evening to support our AGM, it was great to see so many of you. The office bearers of the committee/team are now Lala Burchal-Nolan continuing as Chair, Glen Heggs is continuing as Vice Chair, Tom Dowman as Treasurer. A formidable team which also includes Whirly Marshall, Sandy Millar and Bea Holden, Whirly has become our expert on landscape matters, Sandy on noise and landscape issues and Bea covers the website and community liaison. Eoghan Baird has stepped down as Secretary, many thanks Eoghan for all your work and support over the past three years.

Lala gave an update on all the proposals around Straiton and neighbouring communities illustrated with some excellent, and very accurate, animations John Nolan has provided which show how the proposals would appear from various viewpoints. She also explained how the team see their remit in terms of which development proposals would be objected to. This included how money raised from the community would only be spent on objecting to proposals which affected the parish of Straiton. To view her slides click here.

Whirly showed interested residents sections of the Knockskae wind farm application showing visualisations of the development. This is hopefully the last application we will have to deal with in our immediate area. There is still a lot of information to digest and appraise but we have post cards available with some points we have been able to identify.

After a question and answer session the evening concluded with wine, mince pies and some good conversation, plus the raffle of course.

Thanks to all those who generously donated prizes for our raffle and helped make the evening run smoothly. Your support inspires us.

PS If you would like to join the team you would be more than welcome, co-opted members (those who wish to join for a limited time or just work on one particular issue such as ecology) are also very welcome.

Join us for our AGM and campaign update

Mince PieThursday 10th December, 7.30pm McCandlish Hall, Straiton

After a short AGM we’ll have an update on the campaign followed by a glass of wine or cup of tea or coffee and some mince pies, nibbles and some festive cheer. With your support we’ve had a successful year.

The main issue currently is Knockskae. A planning application has just been lodged with South Ayrshire Council and we’ll have all the detail on this along with post cards for an informed objection. The proposed traffic route is down Kirkland Street in Maybole, through Crosshill, past the cemetery and across the Cloyntie crossroads. Lots of homes nearby will be adversely affected by this poorly designed wind farm. It’s sited on high ground so will be visible from miles around.

Hopefully this be the last application we have to oppose – please come along, get informed, get post cards for friends and family and let the Council know this proposal is completely unacceptable.

The view from Straiton

This is the view of the proposed development from the centre of Straiton

Inquiry gets underway

Doon Valley Golf Course with Keirs Hill in background

This was taken from the delightful Doon Valley Golf Course looking toward Keirs Hill where the proposed development would be positioned.

The Public Inquiry into the proposed Keirs Hill wind farm got underway in Dalmellington today. During the first week the impacts that the proposal would have on the landscape, settlements and individual homes will be covered.

Save Straiton for Scotland will present their evidence on Thursday. If you are able to attend for all, or part, of the day please do so. Your support will be much appreciated by the team.

During the second week impacts on Cultural Heritage (Tuesday 6th), Tourism and Recreation will be heard (Wednesday 7th).

Sessions start at 9.30am and finish at 4.30pm with a break for lunch at around 12.30 -1pm for 1 hour. It is being held in Dalmellington Community Centre which is on the left as you enter the village from the north. There is plenty of parking space and you are welcome to and go as you please (just mind the squeaky door and close it gently!).

A super walk and scrummy barbecue

Strollers crossing a bridge with the monument in background-sml

©Anthony Dawson Photography

A beautiful walk was enjoyed by supporters – the perfect way to build up an appetite for the delicious barbecue back in the village. The walk was new to many and gave some fine views of the village and surrounding hills which we are striving to protect. Chair of Save Straiton for Scotland, Lala Burchall-Nolan gave a detailed update of the campaign. This included the forthcoming Public Inquiry into the Keirs Hill wind farm proposal. Among the strollers were friends from over the hill in Waterside who will be severely affected by this proposed development. The Inquiry starts on the 28th September and supporters were asked to attend and lend their support if they were able.

A huge vote of thanks to all those who contributed cash, wine, raffle prizes, food and their precious time to make the event a success. Over £760 was raised! Special thanks to Katie and Joy who took on the organisation of the barbecue and did such a brilliant job.

Walkers gather outside the Hall

Join us for a Stroll and Barbecue

Straiton Stroll PosterSunday 20th Sept 1.30pm McCandlish Hall

We’d love to see you at our Stroll and Barbecue. Our route might well be new to many walkers as it’s not long established, plus there are alternative shorter routes. Great views of the glorious countryside from all routes. Non-walkers are very welcome – come along a little later to welcome the trekkers back. There’ll be all the latest campaign news, a fantastic raffle, photo competition and lots of delicious food and drink some Juicing daily drinks to enjoy.

Donations very welcome, contact our co-ordinator Katie at ckcnisbet@btinternet.com

We want your views!

Mail1South Ayrshire Council are in the process of producing guidance for wind farm development. Earlier they invited comments on a range of wind farm issues to shape this guidance. We’ve looked at some of the comments and note that quite a number of developers took part to get their point of view across. Some of those views include “an arbitrary 2km should not be drawn round each settlement”, “Landscape Character 17b is only appropriate for turbines 50-70m in height however this has been shown to be too conservative” It’s hardly surpsrising that these were made by RES who want to erect 149m turbines less than 2km from Waterside and Patna!

There are many other examples where developers appear to have a blatant disregard for communities, our precious landscape, planning guidance and the landscape study by SNH.

Please follow the link here to view the draft guidance. The team at Save Straiton are producing a comprehensive response to this draft and we would appreciate your views as well. Even if you only want to comment on one aspect of the draft guidance which you feel strongly about please let us know – and leave your own comment too of course!

Developers are using this opportunity to get their views across and have guidance written in their favour We must get our message to the Council: 2km is the very minimum distance from homes (turbines are very much larger than a few years ago), light flicker and noise must be assessed properly, river valleys should be protected, the Landscape Capacity Study should be strictly adhered to and most importantly individual homes should be given the same status as villages. There are many other issues of course but we feel these are some of the most critical.

We’re looking forward to receiving your comments.


Keirs Hill – updated information

Keirs Hill from Dunaskin Burn

This was taken from close to the remains of Laight Castle, a rectangular Tower House that is highly reputed to be the location that Alpine, the King of the Scots, was defeated and killed in a battle in 834. Keirs Hill is in the background. Note that a line of pylons on the far hillside is virtually invisible from this viewpoint but the turbines would be a very dominant feature.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been busy preparing our Case Outlines for the Keirs Hill Public Inquiry to be held at the end of September. RES have supplied additional information for their Application which can be viewed here.

Naturally we’ve looked at all the new information and remain convinced that this application is completely inappropriate for this location and is contrary to a myriad of local policies and guidelines.

We are working with our neighbours in the Doon Valley to mount a robust defence to protect individuals, communities, the landscape, tourism, recreational pursuits, and our culture and heritage.

Our Outlines have to be by this Friday, if anyone still wishes to speak and has not contacted us, please do tomorrow.

Our objection to Hadyard Hill Extension

The picturesque village of Barr

The picturesque village of Barr

We submitted a comprehensive Objection to SSE’s plans to extend the Hadyard Hill wind farm near Barr by 31 turbines, bringing the total number to a whopping 83. We stressed the damaging effects that the existing development has had on those living in close proximity and resulted in residents having to leave their homes. The extension would impact significantly on a further 26 homes. We also highlighted the damaging effect it could have on tourism and recreation in the area resulting in job losses. The Extension, we pointed out, is contrary to Scottish Planning Policy, the ethos of the Biosphere, the South Ayrshire Landscape Wind Capacity Study, Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Strategy and Wild Land Area policy.

Please read our full Objection by clicking the link here.

Crosshill, Straiton & Kirkmichael Community Council also objected as did Barr, Dailly, Pinmore & Pinmerry, and Colmonell & Lendalfoot CCs.

Hadyard Hill Extension

The closing date for representations has now passed. Thank you to everyone who objected to this Extension. The full Save Straiton objection will be made available in the next couple of days.

Near Barr

Representations must be made by 5th June 2015

Views like this of the beautiful Stinchar valley near Barr would be ruined if SSE’s Hadyard Hill Extension were to go ahead. There are already 52 turbines in this wind farm – another 31 would completely overwhelm this area. The proposed turbines are significantly higher than those erected resulting in more noise and shadow flicker pollution for those living nearby. Unlike the installed wind farm this would be visible from both Barr, Dailly and Crosshill plus Wallacetown, Seasons Holiday village at Brunston Castle, the dramatic Nick of the Balloch and large sections of the Stinchar and Girvan valleys.

The developer admits that “26 properties would undergo a significant effect”. Others would have their amenity destroyed. Eight properties come within 1km with the closest only 720m from a turbine. We feel this is unacceptable.

The Merrick Wild Land Area would also be compromised – the proposed turbines are 25% bigger than the installed ones and located on higher ground.

We have prepared post cards which can be downloaded and printed out for friends and family to make an informed objection. Please print them out for those without access to the internet.

Click here to view objection points and here to object on-line.

Ruined – this iconic view of Straiton

View of Straiton with Monument

It is with great sadness that we have to report the Judicial Review into Dersalloch will not go ahead. Mark Gibson of Craigengillan (with the support of East Ayrshire Council) had done everything possible to bring one about but sadly a judge ruled that he would not allow his expenses to be capped. This would mean ScottishPower Renewables could extract their costs from him which may have been many thousands of pounds. They, ScottishPower Renewables, were represented by no less than four QCs.

It would appear to us that the Government have not followed their own Planning procedures whereby if the local council object to a development a Public Local Inquiry (PLI) is held. Both South and East Ayrshire Councils objected, along with 4,723 individuals. The high-handed way the Ministers have dealt with this, ignoring local communities, disregarding the Landscape Capacity Study and, of course, announcing the decision to approve without a PLI on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games so it would not receive any media attention, leave a very unpleasant taste.

A Public Local Inquiry would have been the fairest way to proceed; all parties could have voiced their concerns openly. Since the original application there have been significant changes with the formation of the Dark Sky Park, the South Ayrshire Landscape Capacity Study, a new Local Development Plan has been adopted and ospreys are now established at Loch Doon to name just some.

The construction of Dersalloch is by a foreign company, installing German made and serviced turbines and using a construction firm from southern Ireland so there would be very little local, or even national, economic benefit.

We have always believed that following the Planning guidelines and working with the system, although not perfect, is the best way to protect our area from inappropriate developments. This is a clear case of inappropriate development. We must hope that the Scottish Government stop overruling local communities and local democracy and that such a travesty of justice is not repeated yet again.

Keirs Hill Public Inquiry – have you been missed?

depaThe Scottish Government announced there is to be a Public Local Inquiry into Keirs Hill Wind Farm. Everyone who responded to the Application ought to have been contacted. If you wrote, emailed or sent a post card commenting on the Application and have not been contacted please let us know, even if you do not wish to take part in the Inquiry.

We are aware that some people have not been contacted who should have been and we want to help the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) by letting them know who has not been included. It may well be an administrative error or some addresses have been lost when the system was upgraded. Either way it is important that all those who responded should be given the opportunity to speak or add to their comments if they wish. Please email us at admin@savestraitonforscotland.com

If you have received an invitation to take part we would urge you to do so. This is the last chance to defeat the Keirs Hill proposal. The more voices the Reporter hears the more impact our objection will have. If you would like help or advice with your submission – please ask – we will be pleased to assist.

Thank you to South Ayrshire Council

On behalf of Save Straiton for Scotland and our supporters, I want to thank South Ayrshire Council for their unanimous decision to object to the Linfairn Wind Farm proposal.

The Planning Panel took issue with the Linfairn Wind Farm proposals, based on:
• The overwhelming local opposition to the proposal

• The impact on homes, especially from noise and shadow flicker
• Impact on the landscape of the Girvan Valley
• The unrealistic transport plans, and
• The number of wind farms already sited in South West Scotland

Hearing councillors say: “enough is enough”; “this is the wrong place” and; “common sense says no was music to my ears!

Our representatives showed themselves to have truly listed to and understood the concerns of the community and stood in solidarity with us in opposing the destruction of our landscape.

In listening to – and heeding – the voice of the people South Ayrshire demonstrated democracy in action. Let’s hope the Scottish Government stands ready to do likewise.

Lala Burchall-Nolan
Chair, Save Straiton for Scotland

Hadyard Hill Extension Exhibitions

High Tralorg, near Girvan

High Tralorg, near Girvan

SSE are holding their second round of exhibitions  in Barr, Dailly and Crosshill with details of the revised proposal for their Extension to Hadyard Hill. 31 turbines are envisaged and the developer states that the turbines and associated infrastructure will be located along an undulating ridge to the north east of the existing development. The site boundary extends across the hill road from the Cloyntie crossroads to Nick o’ the Balloch, which is also designated as part of National Cycle Route 7. In the original proposal several turbines were visible from Straiton, each turbine was 126.5m high with an output of 3MW. If you can manage to attend, please do so and leave your comments on the form provided.

Wednesday 4th March
Barr Community Hall 3pm – 8pm

Thursday 5th March
Dailly Community Centre 10am – 2pm
Crosshill Community Centre 3.30pm – 7.30pm

You might be interested to read that Hadyard Hill wind farm has received £6.5 million in constraints payments, click here to read the full story reported in Carrick Today.

Thank you and our submission

Linfairn Addendum pic

Thank you again for all your support; at the recent Soup and Sweet and for responding in your thousands to the original Linfairn Wind Farm Proposal and the Addendum. To read our submission please click here. There are 17 Chapters plus Appendices but you can just open the Chapter or Chapters which are of particular interest to you, or just read the conclusion if you are really pressed for time.

We do hope you will find some time to read through parts of it, in particular the Chapter on Shadow Flicker which is particularly significant. We are fortunate to have an expert software developer who has assisted us by applying for a software licence and using this specialist software to demonstrate that Shadow Flicker results should not be limited to 10 times the rotor diameter. When turbines are located south of homes, and especially on high ground, Shadow Flicker has the potential to affect properties much further afield.

The rain didn’t dampen our spirits

guestsSome seriously delicious soups and sweets were polished off on a wet Sunday afternoon, the weather may have been dreich but the Soup and Sweet was anything but. Over 70 folk enjoyed warming soup, a scrumptious pudding rounded off with tea or coffee. Our famous Straiton raffle did not disappoint with loads of prizes – a surprising amount involving alcohol! In addition each table was graced with a beautiful potted primrose which the person with the lucky seat took home with them.



Lala (on the right) handing over the Objection and Petition from Save Straiton for Scotland to Ms Anderson at the Consents Unit

Our Chair, Lalage Burchall-Nolan, gave an update on the situation to date as well as heartfelt thanks to all the soup and sweet makers and those helping in the background. In her hand was SSfS’s Objection to the Linfairn Wind Farm Addendum which has been submitted to the Consents Unit. She also mentioned that two thirds of all wind farm objections received by the Scottish Government in 2014 were for Linfairn – a staggering fact and shows just how much people care about protecting this area.
If you wish to read our full objection we will be uploading it in the very near future.

Just over £1,250 was raised which is a massive help to the campaign. PNE Wind are expected to put forward their proposal for Knockskae wind farm in the Spring and we intend to employ experts to inform our detailed Objection to their proposal which we believe is in an inappropriate location for a development of this size and scale.


The tempting array of sweets which tasted as good as they looked

Thank you to all those who helped organise, made soups and sweets, laid out the tables, donated prizes, and assisted in the success of the afternoon. And a big thank you to all those who came and supported the event.

Keep the Date for Soup and Sweet


Join us on Sunday 22nd February, 1pm – 3.30pm at the McCandlish Hall in Straiton for a tasty bowl of soup and a scrumptious sweet.

As well as delicious offerings we’ll be giving an update on the current wind farm applications plus they’ll be another opportunity to purchase one of James Fullarton’s beautiful prints – a great Mother’s Day gift or birthday present. We’ll also have a selection of small paintings and cards and a great raffle!


Donations of £5 per adult and £2.50 per child would be greatly appreciated. Look forward to seeing you there.

Mince Pies, Mulled Wine and our AGM

Back in December we held our AGM. Bill Steven, retired from the Chair but is still active on the Committee, we would like to thank him for all the hard work he has put in over the past years, his enthusiasm, engaging personality and exceptional public speaking skills have been invaluable. Stepping up to the Chair is Lala Burchal-Nolan, again an excellent and inspiring speaker with an incisive mind and, what’s more, she can speed read – a useful skill when going through thousands of pages of developers’ applications.

Sadly we are also losing Jonathan Meuli; web builder extraordinaire and multi-talented intellectual (writer, editor, artist, photographer and expert communicator). He constructed this site, creating the ‘feel’ and tone of the pages, working through the nights uploading an enormous amount of content through which our readers can become informed and come to their own conclusions. We hope we can do justice to all your hard work. Thank you.

Also stepping down are Whirly Marshall and Joanna Clapton who have become experts in all things Planning. They have studied each application with forensic detail and put together some compelling objections which has taken many, many hours of work for which we are all very grateful. Fortunately they are still helping in the background with forming our objections to Linfairn and Knockskae proposals.

Since the meeting we have welcomed Tom Dowman and Sandy Millar on to the Committee and we are confident they will make an invaluable contribution to the campaign.

Click here to open a pdf of the AGM slides which include how much we raised, how we spent it and an update on all the developments.

Since the meeting we know that Mark Gibson of Craigengillan has lodged a petition for a Judicial Review into Dersalloch after East Ayrshire inexplicably withdrew at the 11th hour.


30th January – deadline for objections to Linfairn

In order that our readers can be fully informed about WilloWind’s application to build a 17 turbine wind farm near the village of Straiton we have uploaded all files relating to the Addendum to the original Planning Application. They are in pdf format and can be viewed here.

To object to the Addendum, please click here.

Figure A6.12.23b - Viewpoint 23.cdr

After studying the Addendum we feel that the proposal is still totally unacceptable, in our opinion the development would brutally dominate the upper Girvan valley, completely overwhelming this beautiful glen and is contrary to the adopted Landscape Capacity Study for Wind Turbine Development in Ayrshire and would compromise the SNH draft Core Areas of Wild Land designation.

We believe the traffic route is also unacceptable; thousands of vehicle journeys would thunder past two primary schools, a play park and a graveyard in Maybole, continue through the conservation village of Crosshill past another graveyard. The route turns onto the B741 towards Straiton where, just before the Crosshill Bridge over the Girvan, a new section of track would be created to enable the huge vehicles to swing round to join the Dyke Road. From here it almost doubles back on itself up the Dyke Road to the site entrance between Dyke and Knockgardner Farms.

Perhaps worst of all we firmly believe this development would have severe detrimental effects on Knockskae and two cottages at Tairlaw with residents suffering substantial noise disturbance, shadow flicker and appalling views. Other homes located up the glen would also be adversely affected, the ability of residents to enjoy their homes and gardens that have carefully been maintained with different Types of Hedge Trimmers and that they may have decorated with the best glowing pebbles, all this could be compromised.

The view from Cornish Hill

The view from Cornish Hill


Another Linfairn Exhibition

Figure A6.12.23b - Viewpoint 23.cdr

WilloWind are holding Public Information Days in Straiton and Kirkmichael next week to “re-engage with local communities” and have submitted an Addendum to the Linfairn Wind Farm application. Despite reducing the number of turbines to 17 we feel the development is still completely unacceptable. As shown by their photomontage it completely dominates the beautiful upper Girvan valley, homes would be overwhelmed and suffer from shadow flicker and noise.

Please try to attend one of the exhibitions and make your feelings known.

Tuesday 13th, McCosh Hall, Kirkmichael, 2pm – 7pm
Wednesday 14th, McCandlish Hall, Straiton, 2pm – 7pm

Enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and our annual general meeting

7pm, Thursday 4th December, McCandlish Hall, Straiton

SSfS AGM 14 Flyer

Join us for a sociable evening and enjoy some mulled wine and mince pies. The evening will open at 7pm with refreshments and a chance to catch up with friends followed by the meeting which will run for an hour and incorporate an update on the campaign plus the ‘formal’ annual general meeting.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Some positive updates from SSfS…yes really!

Given the recent decision taken by the Scottish Government to dismiss the need for a Public Local Inquiry (PLI) and grant consent to Dersalloch Windfarm, thus overriding the ‘open and transparent’ planning process, the local council, and some 5000 members of the public who objected to it, there has not been much to cheer about in recent weeks.   A sinister precedent has been set which has left the surrounding communities and councils in shock, not just at the way the decision was made and the timing of the announcement, but also as to what this could mean for the other Section 36 windfarms surrounding Straiton which are currently in the planning system (not to mention countless others all over Scotland).  Legal advice is being taken as we speak so hopefully we have not heard the end of this, however we thought in the meantime we could try and cheer our supporters up with some ‘better’ news.

Keirs Hill Windfarm (RES UK) – In addition to a solid objection by South Ayrshire Council, there are confirmed to be 3419 public objections to this proposal.  Last week, East Ayrshire Planning Committee added theirs to the mix.  This ‘should‘ trigger a Public Inquiry, however, who knows how the Scottish Government will choose to handle this given their recent behaviour with Dersalloch.  East Ayrshire have provided a full and detailed review with their reasons for objection, and even hired their own noise and landscape consultants to assist with the decision making process – the report can be found here.  Sadly, developers RES have already been throwing their toys out of the pram about this objection, with the decision having been reported as “blasted by applicants RES UK and Ireland Ltd who claim the development will boost the economy and create local jobs”…“The Council’s decision will create significant additional costs and delays, for all parties, in the delivery of the proposed 17 turbine development which has received no objections from Scottish Natural Heritage, SEPA or Historic Scotland and has significant support within the local community.”   Well RES, we did try to warn you that this was an inappropriate development and the Council are perfectly entitled as statutory consultees to object!   Many developers mistakenly seem to think that because SNH do not formally ‘object’ that a proposal has essentially got the ‘green light’.  This has never been the case, as there are many other considerations that need to be accounted for, and yes RES, that does include impact on communities and breaches of planning policy!

Glenmount windfarm (RWE) is split between 2 planning authorities – South and East Ayrshire.  Given its location, it should come as no surprise that there are a number of objections that have been lodged (statutory and non statutory).  South Ayrshire Planners have recommended objection and East Ayrshire have not lodged theirs yet so watch this space, but again – SSfS are hopeful this should trigger a PLI.  The South Ayrshire Panel report can be found here.  The report also summarises some of the objections received to date which is encouraging:

Save Straiton for Scotland – objection (number of submissions made).             ScotWays – objection to proposed right of way closure during the construction phase. British Horse Society – have concerns of the impact of proposal on off road riding in the area.                                                                                                                            Glasgow Prestwick Airport – objection.                                                            Mountaineering Council of Scotland – objection.                                                        SEPA – objection unless significant modifications can be met.                                                Visit Scotland – significant concerns raised on the impact of the proposed development on tourist’s assets in the area.                                                                                    Ayrshire Rivers Trust – concerns over sediment arising from the site-welcome commitment to proposed water course monitoring programme.                                        Scottish Natural Heritage – objection, considers that the proposal will significantly and adversely affect the integrity of the Merrick Search area for Wild Land.                            Kyle & Carrick Civic Society – objection.                                                                      West of Scotland Archaeology Service – objection

No news yet for the Linfairn addendum (removal of 6 turbines), however, Willowind are another developer that mistakenly believe it is only SNH who have a valid opinion and from their recent ‘exhibition’, it is clear that they do not consider the other objections made by the landscape, planning and noise consultants,  or the 6000 public objections relevant.  So they are going to push ahead with some very superficial changes to try to appease SNH.  We wish them all the best, look forward to responding to the addendum and hope that Mr Atwal is enjoying his sabbatical from his banking day job to try and push this proposal through!






Knockshinnoch; too close to homes

2 Turbines at KnockshinnochAlthough not directly in the Straiton area a proposal to erect 2 turbines at 125.6m high in nearby East Ayrshire has been submitted. Like some of the developments near Straiton the turbines would be alarmingly close to homes, 5 properties are within 750m.

It is clearly visible from A713, a main tourist route into this area and to Straiton. It would be visible from parts of Rankinson and Littlemill but the developer regards this as ‘moderate’ – somehow I doubt the residents would agree with this. Situated on Landscape Character 17a (Foothills with Forest and Opencast Mining) but within 600m of East Ayrshire Lowlands (7c) which the developer acknowledges would suffer significant effects. The East Ayrshire Landscape Capacity study states that these Lowlands would have a High sensitivity to large typology“. Shadow flicker is expected to affect 8 properties. The developer mentions they would remove this effect entirely by ensuring the turbines would not operate when the shadow flicker would occur. This is welcome but why erect turbines so close to properties when they have to be switched off for long periods? Perhaps the developer should have chosen a more appropriate site. To blight so many homes and make no real significant contribution to the Government’s targets on renewable energy seems just plain wrong.
If you wish to object please follow the link to http://scotlandagainstspin.org/Objections/knockshinnoch-wind-farm/
If you wish to find out more, East Ayrshire council has all the documents associated with this proposal (120) on their website http://eplanning.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/online/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=N8343XGF01B00


Dersalloch Windfarm approved despite assurances of an Inquiry

The site of Dersalloch

The site of Dersalloch taken from Bennan Hill

Dear supporters,

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.

Hadyard Hill Extension

SSE held exhibitions at the end of April showing their plans for up to 51 turbines at 126.5m high as their extension to their Hadyard Hill wind farm near Barr. In capacity terms the extension is much bigger than the existing wind farm and the map below shows the area being proposed. The orange dots show proposed turbine location and the red dots are homes. Click on the Map to view a larger version. (Map was produced using Bing OS maps)

Hadyard Extension Map

When it was pointed out to the project manager that the turbines were positioned virtually at the top of hills, extremely close to peoples’ homes and within the Intimate Pastoral Valley designation she replied that this was just a rough plan of the proposed development. They plonk turbines all over the area to get as much feedback as possible from statutory consultees such as SNH and SEPA. She cited an example of an application in different area which had been reduced from around 50 to 30 turbines. She also mentioned that no landscape professional had been employed in the initial stages of the Hadyard Hill Extension which begs the question why on earth put up this information? Is it an attempt to worry folk and then cynically remove some turbines which they never intended to construct and then claim “to have listened”? As a responsible developer we would expect that more care and thought would have gone into the design of a wind farm, even in the initial stages and certainly before presenting it to the public.

To see exactly how near the proposed turbines are to peoples’ homes click here.

To read the Scoping Report and download the pdf document (15mb) click here.

As it stands the development would be clearly seen from Straiton and Kirkmichael and be a very dominant feature from Crosshill.

Back in the news: Save Straiton group continue their objection to Linfairn

This weeks Carrick Gazette has highlighted the SSfS on-going campaign to fight the completely inappropriate Linfairn Windfarm.  To view the article please click here.  This is in response to the announcement that Investment Bank led WilloWind Energy will be holding more public exhibitions and submitting an addendum to their initial proposal for 25 turbines, reducing the number to 19.

Responding to Chairman Bill Steven who commented regarding the inappropriateness of the remaining 19 turbines,  the ‘new face’ of Willowind (Suki Atwal) is  already displaying the familiar signs of contempt for this community that we have seen time and time again:

“It is disappointing but entirely predictable that the Chair of the Save Straiton for Scotland campaign group has chosen to criticise our revised proposal prior to our public exhibitions taking place on the 9, 10 and 11 July. It would appear that there is little that Willowind can say or do to engage in a constructive dialogue with this group, who have always maintained a position of absolute opposition. Sadly it is likely this will never change.”

In response to Mr Atwal – SSfS can be clear that the 6000+ objections lodged with the ECDU were not just relating to the 6 turbines which Willowind propose to remove,  but the scheme in its entirety.  The removal of 6 turbines, was only one of many critical comments made by SNH when they responded to the proposal (please click here to view the full response).  But what about the numerous other valid objections that were made in relation to this proposal In addition to those made by SNH?

Planning opinion – Ian Kelly
Landscape assessment – Mark Steele
Landscape assessment – Appendix
Noise report – Dick Bowdler
Supplementary objection submission – SSfS
Visit Straiton – Objection

If WilloWind and its consultants had bothered to read these and actually ‘listen’ to the local community, the politicians,  the planning, landscape and noise consultants, then they would not even be attempting to come back into this village and they would understand why  “…the Chair of the Save Straiton for Scotland campaign group has chosen to criticise our revised proposal…”. 

Please be clear about one thing Mr Atwal – If you would like to win over this community and undo the damage caused by your previous windfarm submission, we can offer some advice – the only revised proposal SSfS and this community will willingly accept is no proposal.


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.