SSE Renewables says it is ‘disappointed’ by the decision of South Ayrshire’s Regulatory Panel to recommend refusal to an application to build an extension to the existing Hadyard Hill wind farm.
The site, located 7km south west of Girvan, would be an extension to the 52 turbine Hadyard Hill wind farm which became operational in 2006.
Hadyard Hill’s 22 turine extension was estimated to contribute £57.4 million to the Scottish economy and support 35 jobs through operation and maintenance at the site.
SSE said it has worked closely with the community and local council. In response to concerns over visual impact of the site on the Stinchar Valley and views from Dailly, SSE submitted an addendum application removing nine of the 31 turbines initially proposed, bringing the total extension site to 22 turbines.
Jonathan Wilson, SSE’s Lead Consents Manager, said: “The Hadyard Hill Extension team have worked incredibly hard to address the concerns of the community and local council over the extension.
“We are disappointed that South Ayrshire’s planning committee has chosen to recommend refusal of the Hadyard Hill Extension and we will now work to identify options available for taking the project forward.”
A report to South Ayrshire Council’s regulatory panel on August 31 recommended that the council lodge an objection to the proposed extension of the Hadyard Hill Wind Farm and approves delegated authority to conclude planning conditions with the energy consents unit should the Scottish Government be minded to grant consent.
In 2015 an application was submitted by SSE for consent to construct and operate 31, 3.4MW turbines with an anticipated height at tip of 126.5m and a generating capacity of up to 105.4MW on land to the south west and north east of the current Hadyard Hill Development.
Following an initial consultation, representations, that included the Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage, local community councils and local residents, expressed concern to the proposed impacts of the development.
To address the issues raised SSE renewables advised Scottish Ministers that further environmental information would be submitted in the form of an addendum .
To do so SSE Renewables were granted extensions to prepare this information by February 2017. It was also agreed that South Ayrshire Council would confirm its decision on the proposal, taking into account the proposed amendments, by September 2017.
The report to the panel said: “In conclusion having considered the applicant’s Environmental Statement and supporting documentation, together with the responses received and having balanced the developers’ interest against the wider community interest it is recommended that an objection be submitted to the Scottish Government for the erection of 22 wind turbines as the applicant has not demonstrated that the proposal will not have unacceptable impacts on matters of landscape, residential amenity and cultural heritage.”
The report states: “The report recommends that South Ayrshire Council submit an objection to the Scottish Government on the grounds that the proposed development would be contrary to South Ayrshire Local Development Plan policies ‘wind energy’ and ‘landscape quality’ and South Ayrshire Council Supplementary Guidance on Wind Energy. It is considered that due to the scale, prominent position, its impact on the skyline, its impact on landmark hills, the wider visibility of the turbines and the absence of any appropriate mitigating landscape factors, that the proposed development cannot be accommodated in the landscape in a manner which respects its main features and character and will have a significant adverse landscape and visual impact.
“Furthermore it is considered that the proposal will have a detrimental visual impact, taking into account views experienced from surrounding residential properties, public roads and paths, significant public viewpoints and important recreational assets and tourist attractions. There is no over-riding reason to depart from South Ayrshire Local Development Plan policy or Supplementary Guidance on Wind Energy.
“That the proposed development would be contrary to South Ayrshire Local Development Plan policy ‘Historic environment’ and South Ayrshire Council Supplementary Guidance on Wind Energy on the grounds that it would have significant indirect effects on the setting of heritage assets in the area: these include the impacts which would affect the setting of Dalquarran. There is no over-riding reason to depart from south Ayrshire Local Development Plan policy or Supplementary Guidance on Wind Energy.”