Bid for huge 200m tall wind turbines knocked back by council

South Ayrshire councillors argued the windfarms would impact the landscape, tourism and nearby residents.

Bid for Knockcronal and Carrick windfarms 200m high knocked back by South Ayrshire council iStock

Plans for two new windfarms with turbines up to 200m high – 50m taller than the Blackpool Tower – have been rejected by South Ayrshire councillors.

The Knockcronal and Carrick Windfarms, proposed for just south of Straiton, would sit side by side.

Statkraft submitted an application for six 200m and three 180m turbines at Knockcronal, while Scottish Power Renewables want to build 13 turbines up to 200m at the Carrick Windfarm.

Unlike most planning applications, South Ayrshire Council does not decide on windfarm applications, instead being a statutory consultee. The decision will be made by the Scottish Government.

There are several windfarms currently in operation or being planned in the area around the village of Straiton, prompting the creation of the Save Straiton for Scotland campaign group.

Planning officers recommended objections to both applications, with similar concerns raised about the impact on the landscape, tourism, nearby residents and the impact on the Merrick Wild Land Area, Galloway Forest Park and Dark Sky Park.

Prestwick Airport also objected to both over a lack of evidence that the turbnines wouldn’t affect radar in the area.

In addition, SEPA objected to the Carrick Windfarm application, saying that the developer, ScottishPower Renewables, had not provided sufficient evidence that the impact on the peatlands would be minimised.

A number of councillors on South Ayrshire Council’s Regulatory Panel were clear that they felt that the area had more than enough windfarms.

The Knockcronal application was considered first, with Girvan and South Carrick independent Alec Clark setting the tone.

He said: “I am not against windpower or any environ friend generated power.

“I want to state once again the situation we find ourselves in Carrick, I think I can speak for South and North Carrick, is the continual conversation at community councils that we are at a saturation point with the windfarms we already have in operation.

“I think we have taken our fair share.”

Councillor Clark also pointed out that the height of the proposed turbines was far larger than some of the 115 to 130m turbines previously erected.

He said: “These are 200m high turbines talking about here. They will have a huge impact.”

He added that the turbines would impact some of the “most favoured places such as the High Carrick hills, which are Ayrshire’s Alps” not to mention the disruption to private water supplies that have become issues at other developments.

“These are impinging on lives of people who live within these areas and villages, and for tourists who want to go and be in the countryside,” he said.

“We have taken our fair share and have supported the generation of wind energy very well in Carrick.”

Independent Brian Connolly, who represents Maybole and North Carrick, said he wasn’t as strongly opposed to the plans as his colleague, but knew of “vociferous” objections to the applications.

Ayr Labour councillor Ian Cavana said he was most concerned about the objection raised by Prestwick Airport.

The recommendation to reject the Knockcronal application was approved before the second windfarm application was brought to the table.

The planning recommendation covered largely the same ground as the Knockcronal objection.

Councillor Alec Clark said: “This one is even more invasive. There are 13 turbines so it will have a bigger visual impact. There is more chance of interfering with watercourses. The cumulative impact, the saturation is, again, higher.”

He added that Barr Community Council objected due to a lack of engagement from the developers.

Labour member Duncan Towson added: “To have two applications for two windfarms extensions is, in my mind, a little bit much for this part of the country.

“Scottish Government seem to be on some mission to reach a quota. I certainly think residents of Straiton and Barr are certainly not happy about this.”

Panel chair councillor Kenneth Bell summed it up: “In researching this new role I heard of, ‘right development, right place at the right time’.

“I don’t think it meets that test.”

The panel agreed to object to the Carrick Windfarm as well as the Knockcronal application.

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