Wind farm objections reach five year high – and still growing

Wind farms in Carrick are a contentious issue, and provoke voceriferous debate.
Wind farms in Carrick are a contentious issue, and provoke voceriferous debate.

SOUTH Ayrshire has one of the highest number of wind farm objections in Scotland as more than 1300 have voiced their opposition to turbine applications.

The region was was listed seventh highest of 23 Scottish local authority areas to return a figure, with 1342 objections submitted to South Ayrshire Council within the past five years, according to a Freedom of Information request from the Scottish Conservatives.

And the same week that the figures were released, two more wind farms came before South Ayrshire Council’s regulatory panel.

The 17-turbine Assel Valley wind farm, proposed for land 2km southeast of Girvan, had received 211 objections by the time the plans went to panel on Thursday.

And some of those against felt so strongly they travelled to Ayr to make their views known, despite the ultimate decision on the wind farm’s progress lying with the Scottish Government.

Pinwherry’s Ian Terry was one of them, and condemned the development as “irresponsible”. “You would like to think that, in the Year of Natural Scotland, some areas will be left to us and others to enjoy,” he said.

At Thursday’s meeting, a second application, Tralorg, to be located 2km east of Girvan, was also refused, despite, unusually, receiving more supporting comments than objections.

Gilbert Stevenson, Development Operations Manager of applicants PNE Wind, said he was disappointed by the decision, but that the company remained committed to taking the project forward.

Girvan Community Council chairman Ken Johnstone, who spoke in support of the eight-turbine development, regretted the loss of the local jobs promised and more than £2 million in community benefit cash for Tralorg’s 25-year life.

Carrick currently has wind farms at Hadyard Hill (52 turbines), Mark Hill (28 turbines), and Arecleoch (60 turbines); consent granted for the 96-turbine Kilgallioch extension; and a further 84 turbines in different developments – Dersalloch, Glen App, Corwar, Linfairn, and Straid – awaiting either South Ayrshire Council consideration or Scottish Government approval.