Argyllshire Advertiser

‘Ignored’ communitie­s call for pause to wind farms


The continuing spread of wind farms across South Knapdale and Kintyre should be paused to allow their broad impact to be assessed, according to area community councils, writes Colin Cameron.

In a joint letter to Scottish Government ministers with responsibi­lity for transport, electricit­y transmissi­on, rural economy and tourism, South Knapdale and Tarbert and Skipness community councils joined forces with their five Kintyre equivalent­s to express concern at the pace and size of wind farm developmen­ts on valuable landscapes.

They also claim some windfarm developers have recently ignored Scottish Government advice on providing community benefits – cash for local organisati­ons – and shared community ownership.

The seven-strong group of community councils have asked Scottish ministers to delay further wind farm developmen­t while a study of their impact on the Kintyre

peninsula and South Knapdale is carried out. Community benefit and shared ownership must, they say, be made a requiremen­t of all future windfarm projects.

They also believe local residents are at a disadvanta­ge when dealing with complex, jargon-filled planning proposals and called for the Scottish Government to enforce better community engagement and provide funding towards profession­al advice for community councils affected by larger developmen­ts falling under section 36 and 37 of the Electricit­y Act 1989.

The government must explore alternativ­e arrangemen­ts, added the group, for the re-opening of the Machrihani­sh wind turbine factory.

The height and number of turbines is of increasing concern, with recent applicatio­ns proposing towers up to 230 metres high - some 50 per cent taller than many existing structures. The group believes the cumulative effect will negatively impact the area’s scenic beauty and therefore tourism.

Bob Chicken, planning convenor for Tarbert and Skipness Community Council, said: ‘Our communitie­s’ needs are being ignored. We believe our proposals will strike a fairer balance between the need for greener power and the needs of the remote and rural population­s who live and work in the lands used to generate it.’

The Argyllshir­e Advertiser put the group’s specific concerns to renewable energy industry body Scottish Renewables.

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, replied by saying that rural Scotland has a ‘central role’ to play in delivering clean power for climate change targets.

She continued: ‘The latest UK Government figures show that only 10 per cent of Scots are opposed to the developmen­t of onshore wind. That data is supported by further research, carried out specifical­ly in rural Scotland, which additional­ly showed higher support for onshore wind power among young people.

‘Renewables now provide the equivalent of 90 per cent of Scotland’s electricit­y consumptio­n, with onshore wind delivering the bulk of that power, employing 5,400 people across the country and supporting a thriving supply chain of businesses from the central belt to the Borders, Highlands and Islands.’

 ?? 51_a18Windfar­m02 ?? Windfarms have grown in number and height since their introducti­on in the 1990s.
51_a18Windfar­m02 Windfarms have grown in number and height since their introducti­on in the 1990s.

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