Halt wind farm development, communities urge

There are more than 300 wind farm schemes currently operating or in development in southern Scotland. Picture: PA
There are more than 300 wind farm schemes currently operating or in development in southern Scotland. Picture: PA
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Communities “overwhelmed” by the massive number of wind farms being planned and built in scenic areas in southern Scotland say no more developments should get the go-ahead until their impacts can be fully understood.

With more than 300 scheme currently operating or in development, Southern Scotland has a higher proportion of on-shore wind farms than in any other area of the country.

Now 50 community councils across Dumfries and Galloway are calling for further developments in the region to be put on hold until a “thorough and impartial assessment” of their pros and cons is carried out.

Representatives of the community councils have written to the First Minister and Dumfries and Galloway Council requesting that residents be given sufficient time and resources to evaluate how proposed schemes will affect the local economy, wildlife and the environment.

With backing from nearly 80 per cent of the area’s community councils, the letters reflect widespread fears over the number and scale of wind farms proposed in the region. Concerns have mounted in the wake of recent independent reports by the London School or Economics and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland highlighted the negative impacts of such schemes on property prices and tourism north of the border.

If plans go ahead there are 46 potential wind developments within a 20-mile radius of the Corsock and Kirkpatrick-Durham parish alone, with more than 1,000 turbines - some standing more than 126m tall.

“Our community council felt overwhelmed by the number of wind farm proposals being planned for our area. When we consulted other community councils across Dumfries and Galloway, it became clear that many others felt the same,” said Willie Dickson, chair of Corsock and Kirkpatrick-Durham Community Council.

“We need impartial, accurate information on the pros and cons of the proposed wind farm developments. And we need sufficient time and resources to consult the communities we serve and represent.

“The land use changes being proposed for the region are likely to have profound impacts for the next 25 years. These need to be properly and democratically considered.”

The community councillors have asked for a moratorium on wind farm applications until studies can measure their cumulative impact and the government can provide funding for communities to get independent expert advice.

They also requested a minimum compensation figure should be set and made compulsory for developers to pay to affected communities.

A Dumfries and Galloway Council spokesman said: “We will consider the issue but we are aware that the Scottish Government has rejected previous similar requests.”