Windfarm petition lodged

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Windfarm pressure group Save Straiton for Scotland has handed in a petition along with 3000 letters objecting to the proposed windfarm at Linfairn.

The petition was handed into the Energy Consents Unit in Glasgow along with 3000 plus individual objection letters.

Chairman of Save Straiton for Scotland Bill Steven said the document covered planning, landscape assessment, noise and tourism.

Mr Steven said: “The report is clear, consistent and unanimous; Linfairn Windfarm is a totally inappropriate development and should be refused on many grounds.”

However developer Willowind says it has worked with the community and listened to their comments and made changes to the original plan at ‘considerable’ cost.

Save Straiton for Scotland say the grounds for objection include the submission of the proposal as a single windfarm rather than two developments; major or significant loss of amenity due to adverse noise levels for scores of properties; the sidestepping of many guidelines and Government policies ; visual residential amenity effects which are substantial for residents within the village of Straiton and the wider community; the blatant and continual disregard of guidelines by WilloWind with regards to community engagement.

Mr Steven added: “They stated that they have listened to local concerns to reduce the number of turbines from 29 to 25 - the scoping document number was 25 so there has been no reduction.

“They stated that they have listened to local concerns to change the access route so that is does not come through Straiton. Their new route now comes within metres of Straiton and completely ignores the impact of traffic through Maybole and Crosshill.

“The local community have lived with the prospect of the Linfairn development since January 2013 and have therefore had ample opportunity to judge WilloWind’s standard of community engagement and consultation.

“As part of our consultation process we contacted our eight local representatives from various political persuasions.

“They include MPs, MSPs, an MEP and local councillors. Despite having differing views on the suitability of wind power, and some even being strong advocates of wind power, all eight individuals had one message - the Linfairn development is “totally inappropriate” and should be refused.”

Martin Davie, chief executive of WilloWind Energy said: “While we have always appreciated there may be an opposing view to our application by certain sections of the local community, we believe it is important that the project and its positive benefits are fully and accurately debated by everyone.

“Very deliberate efforts have been made over the last year to involve and consult with local people in the development process.

“By working closely with local people, it has allowed us to be informed about the key issues of concern – such as the numbers/locations of turbines and the access through Straiton - and to put in measures to remedy these.

“Having listened to the local concerns and then demonstrated our willingness to make changes, it does seem questionable how we can then be accused of not engaging with the local community?

“We are also very clear on the circumstances which led to the reduction in the number of turbines. Our original scoping document did state 25 turbines but this was an initial document that predated our revised submission which later included the acquisition of land at High Gennoch which allowed us to increase the turbines to 29. Anyone who attended the public exhibition on January 17 in Straiton would be very aware that we clearly stated our plan was to build 29 turbines.

“In addition, we are very clear that at the public meeting – which represented the most complete design of our application – we indicated our preference to have traffic go through Straiton. But, as with the issue over the turbines, we listened to the concerns and incurred considerable extra cost and delay to secure an alternative access that does not impact on Straiton.

“A great deal of careful planning has gone into ensuring this has minimal negative impact and brings a real and lasting benefit to the local community.

“We remain committed to continue to work with the local people through to delivery of a community focussed development.”