Ayrshire wind farm would be ‘a violation of the landscape’, says councilor

A proposed wind farm in Ayrshire has been described as a ‘breach of the landscape’, an act of ‘environmental vandalism’ and ‘a disaster for the local community’, should it go through.

South Ayrshire councilors were outspoken about their strong opposition to a plan to build fourteen 200m-high turbines near Barr.

The council’s regulatory panel discussed a formal objection to a Scottish government consultation on the plans, based on the impact on the landscape, the dark-sky park, road infrastructure and cutting off a local farm’s water supply.

Council members were unanimous in their objections to the plan.

SNP Councilor Craig Mackay said: “The height of these turbines is progressively increasing. The proposals are much larger than what we saw five years ago.

“I’m a big supporter of renewable energy, but I feel like we’re reaching saturation point.”

Councilman Alec Clark said the local community was extremely concerned about the plans.

He said: “It would be an environmental disaster and it would be a community disaster. These are 200m tall turbines compared to the usual 100m-130m, so that is a big increase.”

He also criticized the app for the use of the Under-25s and Under-27s.

Councilman Clark added, “These are roads that are already impassable and they want to use them for heavy goods traffic. There is already concern about the lack of places of passage.”

“One of the most pleasing areas to look at in all of Ayrshire is going to be destroyed.”

Councilor Brian McGinley said: “We need to find comprehensive ways to generate electricity, but this is not sustainable. If sustainable, damage to the local environment would be taken into account. This seems to ignore it.

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“I believe it amounts to environmental vandalism and I am very disappointed in the lack of foresight and consideration from other users and residents in the area.”

Conservative Councilor Mary Kilpatrick: “I could have cried when I read this report. I feel like it’s like a violation of the landscape.”

Labor councilor Ian Cavana said: “I am sitting in the upstairs bedroom in Ayr and I feel like I can see the turbines from here. It’s a bridge too far.”

In the report, officials stated that there would be “significant adverse scenery and visual effects due to the scale and positioning of the proposed turbines.”

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They added that there was no evidence that the lighting “would not introduce intrusive and prominent lights into an area important for its dark skies, negatively affecting views from the Merrick Wild Land Area and the Dark Sky Park transition area.”

He also noted the wind farm’s impact on tourism, specifically mentioning Merrick Wild Land Area, Galloway Forest Park, The Dark Sky Park, sections of National Cycle Route 7 and ‘important viewpoints’ including Colonel Hunter Blair Monument, Cornish Hill and Shalloch on Minnoch Hill.

Other objections related to the lack of radar mitigation in relation to aircraft flying to and from Prestwick Airport, potential damage to a nearby farm’s water supply.

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It was also claimed that the project would result in an “unacceptable increase in heavy vehicle traffic” on inadequate road infrastructure during construction.

Should the council fail to withdraw its objection, the Scottish Government would be forced to conduct a public inquiry.

A report to councilors said the development could potentially add £8.9m to the local economy, raise business rates and create new jobs.

The wind farm could power between almost 60,000 and 78,000 homes each year.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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