Chris Blantern

 

Banks Renewables have submitted Further Environmental Information on their proposed changes to the Knockendurrick development near Twynholm.  Documents can now be viewed on the council website and comments submitted until 5pm on Thursday 29th June 2017.

 

Although Banks have reduced the height of the turbines from 7 x 132m turbines to 6 x 115m and 1 x 100m to tip, the development would still have significant landscape and visual impacts.

 

The Dumfries and Galloway Wind Farm Landscape Capacity Study, which states that “There is no scope for siting the large (>80m)  typology (turbines) within this landscape due to the scale of these foothills and their likely  prominence from adjacent sensitive landscapes", is quite clear that this development is in the wrong location. 

 

Below is an approximation of how the proposal could look…..

 

A new website has been set up called Say No to Knockendurrick – please Click here for more information

 

The refusal of the California, Mayfield, Barcloy Hill and Chapman's Howe developments in recent years strongly supports local policies.  If Knockendurrick were approved it would be particularly visible across large areas to the south, west and east which is the heart of D & G's main tourist area and it would significantly weaken local policies. 

 

We need as many people as possible to object individually to this scheme as Banks have been very active collecting support and many people have no idea exactly what they are supporting or how the proposal is contrary to local planning policies.

 

Please help us to protect our landscapes and tourism industry, by objecting before 5pm on Thursday 29th June and passing the message on to as many people as you can and asking them to object too.

 

Click HERE for a specimen objection letter created for Knockendurrick. You can add or delete text as you like! Just insert your address, the date and then your name at the end. Remember if two or more people sign the same objection it will only count as one so please sign and send in individually.

 

The A713 Castle Douglas to Ayr road was shut just north of Parton following the incident which occurred at 22.45 on Monday 6th February.

 

A DAF lorry, part of a convoy heading to the Brockloch wind farm at Carsphairn, had left the road.

 

Recovery work took over 3 days during which the road was closed. The road has now reopened after inspections of its condition.

 

Some people might suggest that attempting to take these extremely long vehicles along narrow, winding roads is irresponsible – more, that to do so in darkness looks like negligence.

 

For more on this story folloow this link to BBC News

_94258545_williejwindturbine

 

An application to develop a wind farm of 10 x 134 metre turbines at Longburn Farm, Stroanfreggan, Carsphairn (on the B729, approximately 7km east of Carsphairn) has been submitted to Dumfries and Galloway Council. There are concerns that this development will straddle the Southern Uplands Way and affect local archeological sites.

 

Further information can be obtained here and by entering this reference into the search box: 16/P/2/0187

 

PLEASE NOTE: we previously published an incorrect deadline date for the submission of comments. The correct deadline is: UP TO 5PM ON 1ST SEPTEMBER.

 

Email    PlanningRepresentations@dumgal.gov.uk

 

Below is a standard objection letter that you may use if you wish to object – please remember to add your address, date and name. You will need to copy and paste the text and send from your own email account.
 

____________________________________

 

Address

Date
 
Reference: 16/P/2/0187

Longburn wind farm, 10 x 134m turbines and associated infrastructure, 7.2km east of Carsphairn.

 
Dear Mr McTeir,
 
I object to the above planning application on the following grounds:-

 
This proposal will have significant adverse landscape and visual impacts.  Views to and from Cairnsmore of Carsphairn should be protected (reference constraint guidance in the Dumfries and GallowayWind Farm Landscape Capacity Study).

 

There are already 214 turbines operational/consented within a 15km radius of the planned site, with a further 215 awaiting decision. There will be a significant adverse cumulative visual impact in the area with existing/planned wind farms.

 

There will be a significant adverse impact on walkers of the Southern Uplands Way as the path goes directly through the site.  The cumulative effect of Longburn and surrounding wind farms will devalue this locality.

There will be a significant adverse impact on black grouse and hen harriers.  The territory of these species is constantly being fragmented making it difficult for their numbers to increase.  According to information submitted by the developer, there is still potential conflict in relation to flight lines for the two species.

 
I hope you reject this application.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Name

 

The proposals near Carsluith attracted more than 1,200 representations against them and more than 100 in support.

 

Skylark Energy took the proposal to appeal becasue  Dumfries and Galloway Council had failed to deal with the application within the statutory period allowed.

 

The DPEA Reporter found there were no grounds to let the seven-turbine California scheme proceed. he concluded….

I do not consider that the undoubted renewable energy benefits of the proposal are sufficient to outweigh the adverse impacts on landscape, visual receptors and the cultural heritage.

 

Well done to ‘Save Wigtown Bay’ action group who worked long and hard to oppose this inappropriate scheme!

 

Click here to read the BBC's brief report.

 

 

The California proposal, near Creetown and overlooking Wigtown bay, was submited directy to the DPEA for decision becasue the Council was unable to process it withn the statutory time allowed. The appointed Scottish Government Reporter recently held an accompanied site visit where dozens of people turned up!  Well done to Save Wigtown Bay for organising this level of interest.

 

The DPEA website lists a target date of 16th June for a decision – though these dates can be very unreliable. For example there is still no news on Mochrum Fell which was due at the end of March and we remeber that the publication of the Barcloy Hill appeal decision was some 8 months late.

 

The California proposal is of extraordinary interest not only because, as many believe, it is inappropriately sited – but also, because of its proposed position, it would be seen from many miles away – particularly down the length of the Wigtown peninsula.

 

 

Loch Urr 

 

It would appear that the plans for 26 x 127.5m turbines at Loch Urr have been withdrawn by E.ON.

 

TW312 have seen a letter from SP (Scottish Power) Energy Network which states that:-

 

“SP Transmission Plc received notice from National Grid on 18th January 2016 to confirm that E.ON Climate and Renewables UK Developments Limited have decided to terminate the agreement to connect Loch Urr wind farm. As such, I can confirm that progression of this project by SP Transmission Plc will cease immediately. No overhead line or any other form of connection is now proposed to connect Loch Urr wind farm to the grid.”

 

No information has been forthcoming from E.ON and we do not know of any local communities that have been contacted by them, despite informing the National Grid of their plans over 6 weeks ago.

 
California – near Creetown

 

7 x 110m turbines.

 

A Reporter (Trevor Croft) has now been assigned to decide this appeal and the target date for decision is listed as 21stApril 2016.

 

D & G council have released their report on the proposal and have raised objections on landscape and visual impact grounds, as well as effects on local archaeology.  

Here are a few extracts from the report:-

 

“It is asserted that the proposal would fail to respect the special qualities of the area [Galloway Hills RSA], and that the landscape character and scenic interest for which the area has been designated would be significantly adversely affected by the proposal.”

 

“Secondly, it is considered that the proposed development would also give rise to significant detrimental impacts on the local and wider landscape character, scenic interests, and visual amenity
of the Wigtown Bay area and the eastern/central Machars.”

 

“The proposal fails to take account of guidance contained within the DGWLCS. It is not considered that the host landscape is capable of accommodating the development without giving rise to significant detrimental impact to both landscape character and visual amenity. The design and scale of the proposal is not considered appropriate to the scale and character of its setting, and would not respect the main features of the site and the wider environment.”

 

“the proposal would give rise to significant adverse effects on the setting of a range nearby archaeological sites and features, namely the scheduled ancient monuments at Claughreid, stone circle 600m NW of (Reference SM1014), Standing Stone of Bagbie, standing stone (Reference SM1001), Bagbie, cairn & stone setting 1200m NNE of (Reference SM1000), and Billy Diamond’s Bridge, stone circle 300m SSE of Glenquicken (Reference SM1023), Kirkmabreck Church and Burial Ground (Category B Listed Building, Reference LB13142), and the undesignated burnt mound on the Carsluith Burn adjacent to the site.”

 

Richard Arkless, the SNP MSP, has objected to the California appeal and condemned the potential damaging consequences it could have on the local area, especially Wigtown.  Though he has previously supported wind development he called this proposal "a step too far". 

 

TW312 have been asked to help local people fight the Mochrum Fell wind farm appeal and we have agreed to send out their request.  Please help if you can!

 

 "After a spectacular victory when the Dumfries & Galloway Council Planning Committee unanimously refused the Mochrum Fell wind farm application on landscape, visual amenity, scale and cumulative issue grounds, the developers chose the last day of their 3 month period allowed to lodge an appeal with the DPEA citing a lack of Policy References in the Decision Notice.
 

Objectors had just 14 days to submit a further response and we are very grateful to all of you who did so. The next step is the publicising of the appellants late revised Cumulative Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment report (CLVIA) which has been advertised locally and in the Edinburgh Gazette.
 
We now have 28 days –until Friday 27/11/2015 – to make further comments on the revised CLVIA to the DPEA. We hope as many as possible will respond to this – it does not need a lengthy letter, just a quick email to say your previous objection still stands or if you haven't objected previously that you would like to object to the proposal.  Please feel free to add more points to the draft comments below.
 
We have come so far together and we must protect this hard won victory, if not, it will be open season within 10km of Mochrum Fell.   Currently there are 10 proposals (including Loch Urr) at various stages of construction, planning or scoping, making a total of 157 wind turbines potentially overwhelming this beautiful landscape. 

Please help make this a lasting victory and send a clear message to the developers – enough is enough!
 
A sincere thank you to you all.

 

_________________________________________________________
 
Sample DPEA responses are below if you wish to use them.
 
Use the first one if you have objected previously and the second one, if you have not previously objected but would like to put in an objection now.
                                                 
Fiona.Manson@gov.scot
 
Reference  PPA-170-2102 
 
Mochrum Fell Wind Farm Appeal
 
I would like to confirm that my previous objection to this application still stands firm following the updated Landscape report. Please dismiss this appeal and refuse the application.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Name
Address
Date

 
________________________________________________________________
 
Fiona.Manson@gov.scot
 
Reference  PPA-170-2102  
 
Mochrum Fell Wind Farm Appeal
 
Following the advertisement of the updated Landscape information for the Mochrum Fell wind farm application, I would like to strongly object to this application due to the serious landscape impacts, cumulative issues and the fact that turbines of this size would overpower the landscape and be visible from long distances away. 
 
In addition, the infrastructure of giant substations and upgraded pylons to transport this electricity would be totally unacceptable.
 
Please dismiss this appeal and refuse planning permission for the proposed development.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Name
Address
Date

 

________________________________________________________________

 

For posted responses – please send to :-
 
The Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA)
4 The Courtyard
Callendar Business Park
Callendar Road
Falkirk
FK1 1XR

 

________________________________________________________________

 

Please remember to quote Reference PPA-170-2102 in all correspondence.

 

Documents relating to the appela can be viewed by clicking here

 

 

After the fantastic news earlier in the month that the Barcloy Hill Appeal was refused by the Scottish Government Reporter, we are brought back down to earth with the latest developments from Banks Renewables in relation to their Knockendurrick proposal.

 

The current application for 7 x 132m turbines on Irelandton Moor, near Twynholm, has an agreed decision date for the end of October.  But it would appear that Banks have little faith in their submitted Environmental Statement, which argues that the proposal conforms to the Local Development Plan (LDP).

 

Banks will be submitting an amendment to their plans which include a reduction in the height of the turbines (6 x 115m & 1 x 100m) and moving their locations further to the east.  We have to wait for the exact details to be presented to council before the public can submit further comments.

 

These changes are supposedly due to further ‘community consultation’ but TW312 have been unable (so far) to discover any ‘community consultation’ as no public meetings, community council meetings, or landscape impact discussions have been conducted according to the council and Scottish Natural Heritage.

The development has also been renamed the Knockendurrick Community wind farm and the potential stake for community ownership has been increased from 5 to 10%.  The question is, does a 10% stake in the wind farm entitle it to be called ‘community’?

 

The PR machine at Banks is certainly doing the business with carefully crafted statements that convey that their ‘development with care’ philosophy is to the fore when the reality is something totally different.  With Banks it seems that it's more than turbines that 'spin'!

 

We have been a little late in reporting this important news – perhaps too busy celebrating. However, finally, after 4 missed decision target dates we know the outcome of the Barcloy Hill wind farm appeal.

 

It's good news for local residents with the Reporter dismissing the appeal.

 

The Reporter supported the council's and SNH's assessments and guidance from the Dumfries and Galloway Wind Farm Landscape Capacity Study (DGWLCS), including that:-

 

  • the local landscape is medium in scale with some small scale features which do not have the capacity to absorb large turbines.  This was in contrast to the developer's assertion that the landscape scale was medium-large.

  • Scottish Natural Heritage's (SNH) guidance on siting wind farms, which identifies turbines should be of minor vertical scale in relation to key landscape features, (ideally no more than one third the height) should be considered. She highlighted how the turbines would be almost the same height as the ridge which would have the effect of "minimising the height of the ridge" and "make it look smaller".

 

  • the "development would have a detrimental impact on Bengairn both in terms of how it would be viewed from outwith the NSA and also on the views available from its summit." thus conflicting with local policy NE1.

 

  • there would be a detrimental impact on the nearby Regional Scenic Area and significant visual impacts for several residents close to the site.

 

  • the Reporter also noted that the developer included no assesment of the impact on resdential amenity in their submission

 

The Reporter did NOT agree with the developer's assessment that the Barcloy ridge was not a particularly prominent feature and highlighted "that the photomontages in the Environmental Statement are not a true representation of the prominence of Barcloy hill as it is seen in real life from various viewpoints."

 

The conclusion was that "the proposed development does not accord overall with the relevant provisions of the development plan and that there are no material considerations which would justify granting planning permission".

Barcloy mast

After 5 years of stress fighting this proposal, there is relief for many in the area. It was the appearance of the intital 80 metre met mast on Barcloy Hill (May 2010) that first alerted local residents to the potential invasion of very large turbines in this scenic area and to the formation of Turbine Watch 312. We will keep going and will continue to actively oppose windfarm proposals wherever, in the OS 312 area, we think they are inappropriate.
 
Thank you to all those who supported us in this campaign!

 

This is the title of a recent scientific paper published jointly by the Scientific Alliance and the Adam Smith Institute and authored by Dr. Capell Aris, which offers some calculated insight into the contribution of wind power to the UK's energy requirements. The study analyses wind data collected at half-hourly intervals from 22 sites in the UK over a period of nine years, with further measurements from 21 sites in Northern Europe and Ireland. This allows the hour-by-hour output of a fleet of wind turbines of nominal 10GW capacity to be modelled.

 

The full paper is a demanding read but if you want to check it out in full click here.

 

Fortunately there's a fairly readable initial 'Summary' and an accessible 'Conclusions' section at the end and both the Scientific Alliance and Adam Smith Institute offer précis…..

 

The results are revealing, although not surprising to anyone who has taken time to look at actual outputs over different days. Power output is below 20% of nominal capacity for over 20 weeks of the year, and below 10% for nine weeks. The UK system produces 80% or more of its rated output for just 163 hours a year, or less than a week. Rapid swings in output mean that conventional plant must be left idling and ramped up at a moment’s notice.

For anyone who thinks that new wind turbine arrays will replace old coal and gas stations as they close down, the details of this study will be a rude awakening. New gas plants are being built to provide continuity of supply and, in simple terms, there must be conventional stations available to meet the entire capacity of the wind fleet to cope with calm days, particularly at times of high demand in winter.

Another argument often put forward in favour of wind energy is that the wind is always blowing somewhere, so having many turbines spread out over a wide area will to some extent smooth the output. This turns out not to be true; the ‘guaranteed’ output is only about 2% of the nominal rating, or 200MW instead of 10GW. Installing a wider grid, such as the proposed Europe-wide ‘super grid’ would make little difference.

The only way wind and solar power would be able to make more than a modest contribution to energy supplies and emissions reduction is when affordable energy storage is available on a massive scale, but this is still some way over the horizon.

The Scientific Alliance

The UK wind debate assumes that wind farms operate at roughly their average output most of the time. According to Dr. Capell Aris’ new paper produced in concert with the Scientific Alliance this is not true. Power comes only extremely intermittently and variably and there are long periods of negligible efficiency in the long winter months when power is most needed. A 10GW wind fleet would need approximately 9.5GW of fossil capacity to guarantee its output.

Adam Smith Institute

Of course we could always settle for an energy supply network where there's no electricty for hours, days or even weeks on end.

 

When we express our opposition to the local siting of large turbines it is not uncommon for pro-wind advocates to trot out the hackneyed accusation of 'NIMBY"!

 

Of course anyone who finds themselves directly affected by wind farm proposals will have done a little more research than most and will know about the invasive effects turbines can have on the health and wellbeing of those living nearby. This is not trivial and neither is it a gentile form of aesthetic 'nimbyism'. The validated evidence of harm is growing – and it is, of course, unlikely that you will hear the Scottish Government, wind farm developers, land owners or even local Environmental Health officers talking about it! (Hmmm – why?)

 

If you are interested or concerned you might like to look at this presentation.

 

Stop These Things have developed this really interesting timeline. It sets out a chronology of what the wind industry knew (and when); what the wind industry did in response to this knowledge and how the wind industry is still manouevering  to ensure that this knowledge is marginalised in the interests of minimising opposition to the proliferation of large turbines. Meanwhile it is increasingly apparent that turbines can have significant, negative effects on the health and well-being of people living next door to wind farms. Click here to see the presentation.

 

So when someone wants to accuse you of being a climate change skeptik, a middle class aesthete, a privileged country dweller or a NIMBY – tell them about the validated harmful effects on people who live near wind farms and who are seen as irritants to be overcome by the Government and the industry.

 

Here's some information provided by the Save Wigtown Bay group….

 

On the evening of 20th February 2015, Ecotricity published the full planning application documents on its website:  

 
CLICK HERE to see the documents (you'll need to scroll down)
 
Sections 4 , 5 and 7 of the Planning Statement are of particular interest.  
 
This is where some of the outrageous statements are about significant adverse impacts on the landscape and historic environment being 'reversible' (after building and operating it for 25 years and then decommissioning!
 
As you know, it does not fit with guidance in the DGWLCS either which indicates turbines above 50m are unsuited to this landscape. 
 
This particular planning application is quite simply preposterous and we must do everything we can to stop this idiotic turbine site from ruining the very heart and soul of Bonnie Galloway. 
 
Official objections will be able to be made once Dumfries and Galloway Council validate the application.  We expect this to happen w/c 23rd February 2015.
 
In the meantime, we recommend you familiarise yourself with the documents and are ready to respond appropriately – with individual emails and letters – when the time is right. 

 

The Chapman's Howe Appeal decision finally came through on 12th January and it was great news for everyone who submitted an objection.

 

The Reporter supported the guidance in the Council's Landscape Capacity Study and refused the appeal on grounds of the landscape and visual impact and the significant adverse effect on some local residents.

 

Here are a few of the Reporter's comments:-

 

"Overall, I regard this as a medium scale landscape. I do not agree with the appellant that it should be classed as medium-large."

"The openness of the site itself is contained within a landscape that has many smaller-scale elements, and is set against the backdrop of Barcloy Ridge (264 metres ADD, roughly 140 metres above the site) and the higher hills of Bentudor (274 metres) and Bengairn (391 metres). The proposed 100 metre turbines would appear large in relation to the existing landscape features."

"The visualisation from VP2 shows how they would dwarf the houses and trees in the immediately surrounding area as seen from the south. Viewed from the west, the blade tips at a height of over 210 metres ADD would seem to dominate Barcloy Ridge,"

"I consider that the turbines would become a dominant element in the landscape within 4-5 kilometres of the site. They would appear out of scale with other landscape features including the hills of Barcloy, Bentudor and Bengairn."

"SNH considers that the impact on the view from Bengairn would be adverse and Significant, and that this is of particular concern given the significance of this viewpoint as a landmark feature within the East Stewartry Coast National Scenic Area.  I agree that the proposed development would appreciably diminish the quality of the views from Bengairn and the neighbouring hills".

"These [5] properties are sited at ranges between 634 metres and 890 metres from the nearest turbine. At this proximity, I consider the effect of 100 metre high turbines would be overbearing and would significantly reduce the attractiveness of these properties as places to live."

 

There are plenty of relieved people around the Whinnieliggate/Nether Linkins area today who would like to thank everyone who has supported them over the past two and a half years in this fight! 

smiley

 

Barcloy Hill
 
The Barcloy Hill decision was expected on the 9th January, but no decision was posted.  Instead, a letter asking NATS to clarify their position in relation to an outstanding objection was listed on the website.

 

The target date for a decision was amended to the 6th March 2015.

 

Let us hope, in light of the Chapman's Howe decision, that the outcome is the same.

 

 

Applications recently submitted
 
 
Loch Urr 

An application has been submitted by E-on to the Scottish Government for an 83MW wind farm between Corsock and Moniaive, with 26 turbines up to 127.5m. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo – Courtesy of Walter Baxter
 

If you would like more information on the proposal please visit www.savelochurr.com
 
 
Spango
RSPB Scotland spokesman, Chris Rollie, said:

"Spango (Mid Rig) wind farm is a proposal for 14 turbines to be built on an area of moorland 2 and a half miles north of Sanquhar, which will tower 145 m above the ground. The site is part of the Muirkirk and north Lowther Uplands Special Protection Area (SPA) and is internationally important for threatened wildlife, such as Hen Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Short-eared Owl and European Golden Plover."

 “We examine individual wind farm proposals very carefully and most pose no serious threat to birds or other wildlife. We are objecting to Spango (Mid Rig) because we believe the potential for harm is unacceptable and any turbines at the site would specifically threaten birds such as Hen Harriers, already under pressure from illegal persecution and habitat [degradation].

“We are extremely concerned about the proposals for this wind farm, as we would be about any threat to this particular site. The wind farm would be located within an area that is truly spectacular for wildlife and an SPA, one of the highest environmental designations in Europe."        
 

Click here for the full article
 
 
Benbrack (still open for objections until 25th January)

 

E-on have also submitted plans for an 18 turbine wind farm (over 50MW) north-east of Carsphairn.  
 

Objections can be emailed to representations@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
 
 
Events
 
Ecotricity are holding two public exhibitions to discuss their proposal for a 7 turbine wind 'park' called California near Carsluith.

 

Carsluith Village Hall
Wednesday 14th Jan 10am – 8pm

 

Wigtown County Buildings, Main hall
Thursday 15th Jan 10am – 8pm
 

Please visit  Save Wigtown Bay for more information (NB There is a button in the top left corner with a drop down menu!)
 

A scoping application has been submitted for 2 x 78m turbines close to the California site, at Mark Farm. 

 
Decisions
 
Culdoach  –  2 x 48m turbines were refused at council due to landscape and visual impacts and NATS objection.
 
At the same meeting in December, Twentyshilling Hill was approved against planners advice.  Planners stressed this proposal was against guidance in the Landscape Capacity Study.  2 community councils supported the development though and councillors voted 9-5 to approve it.  This sets a dangerous precedent in that area now. 
 
Community Windpower have submitted a screening request for an extra 6 turbines to their wind farm approved in the summer (Sanquhar).
 

 

IMG_1693thumb

At the October 14, 2014 Brown County Board of Health meeting, a motion was unanimously approved declaring the Shirley Wind turbines a "Human Health Hazard".  The text of the unanimously approved motion reads:

 

"To declare the Industrial Wind Turbines at Shirley Wind Project in the Town of Glenmore, Brown County, WI. A Human Health Hazard for all people (residents, workers, visitors, and sensitive passersby) who are exposed to Infrasound/Low Frequency Noise and other emissions potentially harmful to human health."

 

Visit BBCRWE wesbite for more info.

Please send any expressions of support and, if applicable, your expereinces to:  BOHsupport@bccrwe.com   

 

It's nearly Christmas and along with shopping and planning festivities it also signals frantic activity on the wind farm front!
 
Two applications, Loch Urr and Benbrack, have been submitted to the Scottish Government for wind farms over 50MW.  An application for 9 turbines at Gass Farm has been submitted to council and just as the council were due to make a decision on Larbrax, the developer withdrew the application.
 
TW312 have also released their latest figures on the status of wind farms across Dumfries and Galloway.  See further down for the shocking figures or click here 
 
 

Update on Stewartry wind farms
 
Barcloy Hill & Chapman's Howe 
 
REG Windpower, the developer of Chapman's Howe, wrote to the Reporter to request that one Reporter should decide both the Chapman's Howe and Barcloy Hill appeals.  In one way this would have made sense as the two sites are adjacent to each other.  RES's response indicated they were not happy with the suggestion and requested that they were decided separately.  The Reporters have decided that the two proposals will be decided separately.

The Chapman's Howe decision is due by 23rd December 2014 and Barcloy Hill by 9th Jan 2015.
 
Knockendurrick 

Banks have requested an extension for the determination date of the Knockendurrick application until 31st May 2015.  No explanation is offered to the public as to the reasons why but the council have agreed to the request.
 

Loch Urr 

An application has been submitted by E-on to the Scottish Government for an 83MW wind farm between Corsock and Moniaive, with 26 turbines up to 127.5m. 
 
The closing date for objections is 12th January 2015.  
 
 If you would like more information on the proposal please visit www.savelochurr.com
 
If you would like to object to the proposal, please go to http://scotlandagainstspin.org/Objections/loch-urr/  and complete the objection form.
 
 
Benbrack

E-on have also submitted plans for an 18 turbine wind farm (over 50MW) north-east of Carsphairn.  Closing date for comment is 12th January 2015
 
 
California wind farm, near Creetown
 
Public Meeting

Wigtown County Buildings
Tuesday 16th December 2014
7.30 – 8.30pm

Refreshments provided
 
"Save Wigtown Bay were initially successful in getting the met mast refused by Dumfries and Galloway's Planning Applications Committee back in August. 

Their comments were: 

“The proposal would result in a loss of amenity and have a detrimental visual impact on the landscape character of the Galloway Hills Regional Scenic Area”.  

At the PAC meeting, a petition with over 250 signatures of people from The Machars objecting to the met mast was tabled.  However, Ecotricity have appealed directly to the Scottish Government (DPEA).  We subsequently, tabled another 180 signatures to the DPEA. (not one was in favour of the mast)  and a decision will be made on the mast around the 1st January 2015.
Ecotricity have now submitted a Proposal of Application Notice for California, hence our meeting."
 
If you care about this area and don't want to see this landscape ruined by wind farm development please come along to the meeting!
 
More details at http://www.savewigtownbay.com/

silent night 
 
Further afield
 
Gass Farm, Glenluce

Willowind (Gass) Ltd have submitted an application to the council for 9 x 126.5m turbines.  With Artfield Fell, Artfield Fell ext, Glenchamber and Carscreugh already in the immediate vicinity there will be a significant cumulative impact in this area.
 
A planning application for 1 x 36.6m turbine at Longforth Farm, Glenluce has been submitted.
 
Larbrax  

(8 x 100m near Killantringan beach) was due to be decided at Planning Application Committee  on Wed 27th Nov but was temporarily withdrawn by the developer at the eleventh hour.

 
 

Consultation on public engagement
 
The Scottish Government have agreed to produce good practice guidance in relation to public engagement  on proposals for wind turbines.  This is in response to Aileen Jackson’s Petition to change the 20m neighbour notification limit.

 

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/GettingInvolved/Petitions/turbineneighbournotification
 
The public consultation on the draft guidance ends on 15 December 2014, and the main consultation page and associated documents are available to view online at www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations
 
If you would like to submit a response to the consultation, please complete the Respondent Information Form (Annex D within the document) and send this by email to: 

PE1469Consultation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk by 15th December.
 
Or by post to:
 
Michael Westwater
Planning & Architecture Division
Scottish Government
Area 2-H
Victoria Quay
EDINBURGH
EH6 6QQ
 
 

November 2014 figures for turbine numbers in Dumfries and Galloway
 

Status

No of wind farms

No of turbines

Capacity output

 

 

 

 

Operational

12

212

334.5

Offshore

  1

  60

180

 

 

 

 

Total (operational)

13

272

514.5

 

 

 

 

Consented

15

324

913.6

 

 

 

 

Total (op & con)

28

596

1,428.1

 

 

 

 

Awaiting decision

20

257

719.7

 

 

 

 

Total

48

853

2,147.8

 

 

 

 

Scoping stage

35

530+

1,450+

 

 

 

 

Grand Total

83

1,383

3,597.8

 

 

 

 

Abandoned schemes

2 – Blackmyre Moor & Mark Farm, Creetown

Refusals at appeal

7

54

148.3

Refusals work out at just 10% of the operational & consented number of turbines and capacity!

For more details on individual developments click here

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR

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Barcloy Hill 

 

This proposal for 5 x 115m turbines was unanimously refused by council last month on landscape and visual impacts and residential impact grounds.  However, comments by the developer, RES UK, which persistently imply that the lack of objection by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to this development, somehow equates to no concerns, could not be left unchallenged. 

 

Project manager John Appleton said: “RES is disappointed with the planning officer’s recommendation to refuse Barcloy Hill Wind Farm. The findings of the council’s landscape officer are at odds with the assessment RES has undertaken and more importantly Scottish Natural Heritage does not object to the project."   (Daily Record 11 July)

 

“Whilst Dumfries and Galloway Council raised objections on the grounds of effects on landscape character and visual amenity, this position is not supported by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)."  (RES website)

 

According to the BBC website, RES UK, "expressed its disappointment at the decision saying that the objections due to the effect on the landscape had not been shared by Scottish Natural Heritage."

 

This is not an isolated incident but also happens with other developers across the whole of Scotland.

 

Turbine Watch 312, fully supported by GLARE, Save Loch Urr, South West Wind Farm Action Group, Say No to Arriequhillart and Biosphere and Dark Sky Park Protection Ltd, have written to Ian Ross, the new Chair of SNH asking that action is taken to rectify this situation.

 

We are lucky in Dumfries and Galloway that our councillors are fully aware of SNH's approach and know that they need to have regard to their detailed comments and not just their formal position.  (Anyone reading SNH's detailed comments on the Barcloy proposal can be in no doubt as to their views!).

 

Unfortunately, this is not our experience with the wider public and developers can exploit this confusion to undermine the council officers' recommendation and to imply that objectors are mere NIMBYs.

 

Unless the position is clarified, the effect over time could be to erode confidence in the Council's policies, which we strongly support and which need to be consistently applied if we are to end the ongoing uncertainty and strife in this field.

 

We expect wind developers to operate in an open, honest and ethical way, sadly in this instance none of those qualities are apparent.

 

 

Chapman's Howe

 

There is a good possibility that this proposal for 3 x 100m turbines adjacent to the Barcloy Hill site, could be decided at the PAC meeting on Wednesday 24th September.  We will let you know once we have definite confirmation.

 

 

Knockendurrick (Gatehouse of Fleet)

 

Next in line for decision after Chapman's Howe!  Again we will let you know when we have more information.

 

 

California wind park

 

Ecotricity's application for an 80m met mast at Kirkdale Hill is due to be decided at the PAC on the 27th August. 

 

A scoping opinion has now been submitted for 7 x 126m turbines on Kirkdale Hill near Creetown.  Whilst the mast is likely visible from Cairn Holy it would appear only one or possibly two of the turbines would be.  However, this development would be highly visible from across Wigtownshire, sit within a Regional Scenic Area and impact on several sensitive archaeological sites.  We shall be keeping a close eye on this proposal.

 

Several people have already contacted us to ask why this proposed development has been named 'California'. Apparently there is a derelict building on site with that name!

 

 

Auchleand 

 

Community Windpower Ltd have requested an extension to the decision date until the 9th October.

                

 

Larbrax 

 

Is open for comment until 28th August

                                                                                                                              

8 x 100m turbines planned to the north of Portpatrick and Killantringan beach.  This development would be situated near the early section of the Southern Upland Way, in a Regional Scenic Area and, with the North Rhins wind farm, would have significant cumulative impact.

 

If any of you know/visit the area please consider putting in an objection.  For more information please visit the Save Killantringan Viewpoint Facebook page

 

https://www.facebook.com/killantringan

 

 

Clyde extension

 

A further 54 turbines have won approval from the Scottish Government to be added to the 152 already built

 

 

Balgrayhill (nr Lockerbie)

 

No. 4/E/4/0010 –  scoping opinion submitted for 1 x 60.5m turbine

 

 

The Future of Galloway's Landscapes

 

See below for the details of an event that the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) are holding, with the help of the Galloway Preservation Society, in Gatehouse of Fleet on Saturday, 23rd August.

 

The purpose of the event is to give APRS members the chance to meet each other and discuss the future of the region's landscapes generally, taking account of all the pressures on it such as afforestation, more intensive farming, the pressure to relax controls over rural housing and other forms of renewables, as well as wind.

 

APRS want to show people just how attractive an area it is and how much care must be taken to ensure that it is properly safeguarded and looked after in the future. So long as attendees are happy to respect this overall objective, APRS would welcome as big a turnout as possible.

 

The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) in association with the Galloway Preservation Society (GPS) are holding an APRS Members Day: The Future of Galloway's Landscapes on Saturday 23rd August at the Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse.

 

All APRS and GPS members, friends and family are most welcome to attend this APRS Members’ Day, which this summer comes to the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area in Galloway.

 

Venue:

Faed Gallery, The Mill on the Fleet, High Street, Gatehouse of Fleet,

 

Time:  
 
10am Coffee
 
10.30 – 1.00 Speakers and discussion on The Future of Galloway Landscapes

1.00 – 2.00 Buffet lunch (see below for charges)
 
2.00 – 4.00 Site Visit to Knocktinkle NSA Viewpoint then to Dromore and Gatehouse Station, 5 miles north-west of Gatehouse, involving optional short walk (maximum 3 miles) on fairly level ground.

 

Booking:

If you would like to attend please book in advance by Monday 18 August, to help us assess catering numbers. The cost is £10 per person, payable on the day, which includes coffee, lunch and a contribution towards room hire. To book or for any queries please email info@ruralscotland.org or ring 0131 225 7012.

 

Chapman’s Howe  (3x100m turbines) previously had an agreed decision date of 20th Jan 2014. We understand that the developer [REG] has asked for more time before the application is considered at the Planning Committee. This has been agreed by the Council.  We will post any information about a new date for the scheme to come before the Planning Applications Committee as soon as we hear it.

 

Loch Hill (11 x 100m turbines) was refused by council last September.  The applicant has now appealed this decision to the Scottish Government.  We wait to see whether local democracy prevails!

 

 

EDF Energy paid £3m to shut down Fallago Rig turbines  

 

 

 

An energy firm has been paid almost £3m to shut down turbines on a wind farm because the National Grid did not want its electricity.

 

EDF Energy received £2.99m in six months to halt production at Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills on land owned by the Duke of Roxburghe.

 

The "constraint payments" are given for not producing energy during periods of high generation or low demand.

 

Read the full story on the BBC News website.

 

This article was published in the Scotsman on Monday 14th October 2013. It serves as a useful resume of how our energy policy has become such a costly [omni]shambles. We have reproduced it here in full and you can see the opriginal here. The author is Bill Jamieson who describes himself:

 

"founder & editor Scot-Buzz, the website for business. Former Execitive Editor The Scotsman."

 


 

 

If it is set to be a cold comfort winter for households as domestic energy bills are hiked, the political temperature is heading in the opposite direction: an explosive boiling point.

 

The truth of UK energy policy has been lost in a maze of subsidies, charges, floor prices and renewables targeting that has led to relentless price increases.

 

The latest 8.2 per cent rise announced by SSE will almost certainly be followed by the other energy suppliers and will raise the average domestic dual fuel energy bill by £106 to £1,380.

 

It is, said one industry expert, “the final nail in the coffin for affordable energy”. But it is only a wonder how it has taken so long for this nail to strike home.

 

Last week’s announcement may have given the impression of hapless energy companies struggling against the impersonal forces of world energy markets. But this is a crisis largely created by successive UK governments. I am grateful to leading energy expert Tony Lodge for an analysis published by the Centre for Policy Studies. Not everyone will go along with some of his radical suggestions, but his account is a useful aide-mémoire of how we got here.

 

Back at a meeting of the European Union Council in 2007, Tony Blair committed the UK to have 15 per cent of our total energy derived from renewables. The level at the time was just 1.2 per cent. No economic impact assessment was put before the prime minister, or indeed commissioned, though in fairness such an exercise could only have been speculative guesswork.

This ambitious target was dwarfed by the commitment to source 35 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020. Given the tide of political enthusiasm for green energy at the time, when the PM’s finger pointed at the moon, who dared to examine the finger?

 

Last year renewables, including biomass, provided less than 11 per cent of UK electricity, against coal and gas combined at 70 per cent. So the huge switchover inevitably involved substantial costs and sharply higher bills both for business and household consumers. But there was another problem: decommissioning of existing coal-fired plants could land the UK with a crisis of supply. National Grid recently warned again about blackouts and price spikes.

 

The 2007 commitment was followed in 2008 by the Climate Change Act setting a legally binding framework for a 34 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Alongside this was a commitment to close 12 gigawatts of coal and oil power plants by 2015 to meet EU emissions rules. The coalition went along with this and the Scottish Government embellished it. However, new gas plants remain unbuilt.

 

Further intervention brought a new UK price for carbon emissions from power plants, much higher than in the rest of Europe. It was supposed to encourage the building of low-carbon power plants. Instead it resulted in higher prices being slapped on coal and gas plants, pushing up consumers’ bills. The UK carbon tax is expected to add about £1 billion a year to renewables subsidies in 2017.

Meanwhile, a new Emissions Performance Standard will be introduced to ban new coal plants, irrespective of the coal price being low, largely as a result of the US shale boom.

 

Contrast all this with Holland and Germany, where new coal plants are being completed, with more planned. These efficient plants will be able to take advantage of record low coal prices.

 

Lodge says: “We must drop the pretence that the UK enjoys an electricity market – it doesn’t. Instead it has created, through decarbonisation targets, a heavily interventionist and subsidy-drunk sector which is highly regulated.”

 

Among his recommendations are that we should stop building wind turbines (“expensive and do not provide electricity on a viable, reliable or economic scale”); amend the Emission Performance Standard so that new modern coal power plants can be built; stop subsidising solar and re-examine subsidies for biomass wood imports; develop a shale industry; continue to improve energy efficiency and drop the carbon price floor which has been raising electricity bills.

 

The 2007 Blair pre-crash draconian targets should be dropped. They were “ill-founded and unworkable and the UK should no longer be bound by them”.

 

Finally, he urges that “we should cut the ‘greenwash’ and lies about green jobs. Redundant shipyards and factories across northern England and Scotland were promised a bounty of marine and wind-related manufacturing work generating tens of thousands of jobs. It wasn’t and isn’t true.”

 

And if this is not enough to concentrate minds, perhaps this might help: renewable subsidies look set to rise from just under £2bn this year to more than £5bn by 2018-19. Onshore wind will receive a guaranteed electricity price double the typical wholesale price and offshore wind will receive triple the typical wholesale price.

 

Renewable energy subsidies have failed to deliver reductions in cost. Government policy was supposed to reduce costs by creating economies of scale and driving technological innovation, but renewable energy still requires very similar levels of subsidy.

 

Despite this, the Committee on Climate Change has warned that “required investment is at risk” unless higher subsidies for offshore wind are provided. Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, says: “If the government are serious about easing the pressure on people’s living standards, they need to take action and scrap lavish renewable energy subsidies. And it is a joke for Ed Miliband to pretend he is taking on the Big Six on behalf of consumers, when he is proposing to keep the targets in place.”

His conclusion is hard to dispute. If politicians are serious about helping families struggling with their bills, then they need to do something about their “dysfunctional and painfully expensive energy policies”.

 

Amen to that.

 

Twitter: @Bill_Jamieson

 

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