Evidence on wind farm plan ‘disturbing’, says community group

How the turbines could look - an image released by the group
How the turbines could look – an image released by the group

Residents in Helensburgh and beyond ‘should be seriously worried’ by plans for a community wind farm above the town, a voluntary group said today.

The five 86-metre turbines are being proposed for a site in Rhu and Shandon’s community council area by Helensburgh Renewables, Greet Cat and Luss Estates.

An impression of how the turbines might look from Kidston Park
An impression of how the turbines might look from Kidston Park

A full planning application for the £7.5m project was lodged with Argyll and Bute Council last month.

But the town’s Turbines Evaluation Group (TEG-H) says evidence it has gathered so far is ‘disturbing’

“The visual impact would affect parts of the Rosneath Peninsula, across the Clyde and into the national park, as well as Helensburgh.

“The skyline and landscape would be seriously affected. So would the character of the town and surrounding area,” said a statement by the group

“It will affect residents to come – 25 years is a long time to have such structures.

“Helensburgh’s economy rests on attracting people to live, visit and spend money in the town. The turbines could have an adverse effect.”

TEG-H is described as a local voluntary group, assisted by advisers, set up to investigate the implications of the scheme.

It points to a list of other concerns about the project:

  • The height of turbines would greatly exceed the 20 metres advised as possibly acceptable to the council (or 50 metres in exceptional circumstances, not likely to be applicable).
  • If the site gets approval, that could open the door to extensions, though the developers say they have no plans to expand.
  • There are implications for built, historical and natural environment

    An impression of the height of the turbines
    An impression of the height of the turbines
  • The amount of cash being offered by the developers – £40,000 per year – is ‘quite small compared to the town’s economy’. The group says it is not known which of the affected communities would get a share
  • A spokesman said: “The developers’ snap questionnaire should be treated with caution until more aspects have been debated.

“TEG-H supports renewable energy and the right sorts of wind turbines in the right places. But is this right for Helensburgh and area? The TEG-H evidence suggests not.”

Ian Fraser, managing director of Helensburgh renewables, last year urged residents to ‘be pragmatic’ about the plans, saying Helensburgh had become known as a ‘banana town’ – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone’.

TEG-H says information will continue to be published on its website, www.helturbines.org – a video tour of the turbine site has also been released:

 

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