Wind farm debate gathers pace with poll and exhibition

Residents have been urged to have their say on £7.5m plans for a community wind farm near Helensburgh.

How the turbines could look from the A817 Haul Road
How the turbines could look from the A817 Haul Road

The plans by Helensburgh Renewables, Luss Estates and Green Cat have already run into opposition from two community groups.

And the air traffic control body NATS has lodged an initial objection.

But at an exhibition about the project Kati Byrne, a director of Helensburgh Renewables, said two thirds of the people they had spoken to since the project was first announced welcomed the potential money for the area – said to be at least £40,000 per year – and said the visual impact was ‘not as bad as they feared’.

“We have had quite a lot of people in today,” she said.

“We want as many people as possible to send their survey forms back – it doesn’t matter if they are pro or anti, we want a decent proportion returned.”

The site on Tom na h-Airidh hill is actually in Rhu and Shandon Community Council’s area, but Kati said the project would benefit that area as well.

“The proposal is that the trust covers the organic area of Helensburgh, rather than the community council area,” she said.

“It is Helensburgh Community Development Trust that will control the money and the people and the directors of the trust that would influence where it went.

“We are trying to bring some money into the community. All of us who have worked on it so far have committed our own time and our own cash – it seemed like a good opportunity.”

The trust’s articles of association would have to be changed for other areas to benefit though, as currently its powers are defined as: “To represent the interests of all persons residing within the boundaries of Helensburgh Community Council.”

Survey forms have been posted to homes in Helensburgh, Rhu and Shandon this week but Kati said people outside those areas could also have their say via the trust website.

The leaflet has not been sent to areas such as the Rosneath Peninsula, but a copy of it is at the end of this article – just click on the image to enlarge.

Tom Forsyth of Green Cat was optimistic that a solution could be found to the objection from NATS, which said two of the turbines would have an unacceptable impact on radar.

“We have spoken to NATS and we have agreed a mitigation of the plan, which they are looking at,” he said

“We are waiting for them to respond – we are in dialogue with them.

“We have proposed a solution to them and they are now looking at that.”

The exhibition in the Tower Centre on Helensburgh’s West King Street will run until 8pm tonight (Friday) and from 9am to 5pm tomorrow.



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