THE highest turbines seen on the UK mainland will form part of a new wind farm approved by the Scottish Government yesterday.
Granting planning permission for Middle Muir Wind Farm in South Lanarkshire is a landmark decision, as seven of the 15 turbines within the wind farm reach to a height of 152 metres (500ft).
The height ensures that the turbines maximise the electricity generated from the available wind resource and the farm has already received the backing of the local council following an extensive period of community consultation and technical assessment.
The new wind farm, 1.2 miles from Crawfordjohn, will have the potential to power 28,000 homes in South Lanarkshire and will generate community benefit funding of £6.37 million over its lifetime, according to the Scottish Government.
The Middle Muir wind farm will be developed by Banks Renewables Limited, with between 25 and 50 jobs created.
Energy minister Fergus Ewing said: “Once it is up and running, the wind farm will help reduce carbon emissions from our electricity generation, aiding Scotland’s work to tackle climate change.
“Wind farms like Middle Muir play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of electricity demand generated from renewables.
“We heard from the Department of Energy and Climate Change that Scotland’s renewable electricity generation in the first half of 2014 was 30 per cent higher compared to the same period in 2013. This overall increase is primarily due to a 50 per cent increase in hydro generation and a 20 per cent increase in wind output.
“We are already providing over a third of the UK’s renewable electricity generation and helping to keep the lights on across our islands at a time where there is an increasingly tight gap between electricity supply and demand.”
Colin Anderson, development director of Banks Renewables, praised both South Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Government for their forward-looking approach to sustainable development.
He said: “The Scottish Government and South Lanarkshire Council have been extremely diligent during the entire process. The Middle Muir Community Fund, to be managed by South Lanarkshire Council, will support the many groups and clubs active in the area and will fund many worthwhile projects that are hugely important to local people over the life of the wind farm.”
He added: “The £6.37m fund has already made a commitment of over £600,000 into a new employment and training programme, to be delivered in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council.
“This will seek to increase the opportunities and prospects of local people and businesses – helping around 180 people over the five-year term of the programme.”
However, not everyone is in favour of the new wind farm with local MP David Mundell leading objections to the development.
He previously spoke out on the issue, saying: “My view on wind farms is well known –enough is enough.
“Local people deserve the right to decide what is best for their area, and I have heard time and again from constituents that they are fed up with the wholesale industrialisation of the countryside.
“This is totally unfair on people who have moved to this part of the world for a bit of peace and quiet.”