Wind farm turbines ‘would dominate views’, says national park

Plans for a wind farm above Helensburgh and Rhu have been dealt another blow, with opposition from Scotland’s first national park.

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

Hundreds of local residents have lodged objections to the £7.5m plan for five 86.5-metre turbines on Tom na h-Airidh hill.

And now a formal objection has been submitted by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park – the site would be just 112 metres from the park’s boundary.

Jointly proposed by Luss Estates, Green Cat Renewables and Helensburgh Renewables, the wind farm promises to generate at least £40,000 per year for local causes.

But national park planners say the turbines would dominate views around Glen Fruin and be visible from Inchmurrin island, parts of the loch itself and Balloch Castle.

“The turbines would be evident on the hillside which would be a dominating view from the Loch Lomond Ferry leaving from Arden,” says the park’s formal response, which cites a 2011 Visit Scotland study saying 20% of UK people claimed the presence of a wind farm would affect their decision to visit an area.

“The development will have a significant adverse impact on iconic views from within the park outwards along sections of the West Highland Way and along the Three Lochs Way,” the document adds.

Although stemming from an idea by Helensburgh Community Development Trust, set up by the town’s community council, the wind farm site is actually in the area covered by Rhu and Shandon Community Council, which organised a postal ballot which showed 89% of local people were against the project.

The developers conducted their own poll of households in Helensburgh, Rhu and Shandon in August, but the results have still not been made available.

To comment on the plans, go to Argyll and Bute Council’s website and use the reference number 14/01674/PP

Meanwhile one of the objectors, Malcolm Kirk, has posted a video online showing the scale of the wind farm project:

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