Fewer than 5% of people responded to a postal survey on £7.5m plans for a wind farm above Helensburgh and Rhu.
More than 60% of those who replied were against the plan – but developers say they will still press on, despite further opposition from residents and a national park, as it would be ‘a travesty’ to allow opponents to defeat the plan for five 86.5-metre turbines.
Back in August, Helensburgh Community Development Trust invited all 7,767 homes throughout the area to participate in a survey asking the question: How many members of your household are in favour or not in favour of Helensburgh Community Wind Farm?
Survey forms were delivered by Royal Mail to homes throughout the Helensburgh area, with residents invited to return completed forms to local shops, where they would be collated and counted independently by Argyll Voluntary Action.
Of the individuals who responded, 284 (38%) said they were in favour, and 469 (62%) were against, but Ian Fraser of Helensburgh Renewables said the project was a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity for public funding which would not be available otherwise. He added:
With 95% of people choosing not to respond to the survey, it is clear that the vast majority of townspeople are either neutral or have yet to make up their minds regarding the community wind farm.
From the beginning, our plans have generated a rigorous debate, and we appreciate some people have very strong feelings regarding wind power.
Now, with small groups co-ordinating opposition, it is not surprising that, of those with a strong enough opinion to respond to the survey, the Not in Favours outnumber the In Favours.
However, we are greatly encouraged that the survey indicated only 3% of the population are Not in Favour of Helensburgh Community Wind Farm.
It would surely be a travesty to allow such a small, but vocal, proportion of our population to halt Helensburgh’s future ability to self-generate funds for local projects and initiatives.
A survey conducted in Rhu and Shandon only by the villages’ community council generated 175 responses, with 89% against this project.
Rosneath Peninsula West Community Development Trust organised a survey in 2012 of its area’s 1,268 residents to gauge opinion on the Cove Community Wind Farm, which was later abandoned; 617 people – almost half – responded with 82% in favour.
On Thursday October 23, Helensburgh Community Council will host a debate on the wind farm proposals in the Victoria Halls at 7.30pm.