Wind farm developers failing to win over opponents

A revised Environmental Statement has so far failed to win over opponents of a wind farm above Rhu and Helensburgh.

The potential view from Lomond School's sports field in Helensburgh
The potential view from Lomond School’s sports field in Helensburgh

As revealed here, planning officers at Argyll and Bute Council took the rare step in November of writing to developers, saying it was unlikely they would be able to support the plans for five 86.5-metre turbines.

Soon afterwards the developers – Green Cat Renewables, Luss Estates and Helensburgh Renewables – submitted revised documentation, but key public bodies are still against the project.

And more than 200 individuals’ objections have been submitted by community web forum Save Our Rhu Bay, taking the total of objectors over 500, with less than 10% of that figure making comments in support.

Developers now say the project would benefit the Helensburgh community by up to £100,000 per year, but it appears to breach council planning policies and was hit by objections from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

A revised environmental statement, together with attempts to counter arguments by objectors, was submitted to planners in mid-November.

But it failed to convince the national park planners or Rhu and Shandon Community Council, who said the developers had simply re-asserted their original position.

SNH acknowledged that some additional information about bird life had been supplied, but added: “Overall this proposal would be uncharacteristic and incongruous in tis location and would adversely impact on a range of important and popular panoramas and views, experienced by large numbers of visitors.

“The landscape context and the important function of the receiving ridge in this scenic landscape is critical in this location.

“This ridge defines the skyline which encircles Loch Lomond and provides the immediate backdrop and setting to Loch Lomond and its fringes.”

Details of the plan and public comments can be found on the council’s website – reference number 14/01674/PP

2 Comments

  1. What are they going to do about the height? 50m is the height in A&B Local plan and nothing should be considered above this. Several times I have asked the applicants why they are not taking these plans in to consideration. I’m still waiting on a reply, in fact they can’t even acknowledge my question. The sooner this is rejected the better. Stop wasting A&B Councils time and tax payer’s money.

  2. Many of your readers will be aware that a planning application to construct eight wind turbines on Corlic Hill, above Greenock, was recently rejected by Inverclyde Council. Doubtless the 700 people who objected to this proposed development, and many other residents in and around the Firth of Clyde, will be relieved that this potentially highly intrusive blight on the Greenock landscape and on the visual beauty of the upper Firth, has been avoided. But now, here is another, similar planning application that has been lodged to build a wind turbine park on the hill above Helensburgh. If this and other wind turbines being proposed on both sides of the Clyde are approved, it could prove very difficult for local Councils to turn down future applications to construct wind turbines on the hill tops bordering the Firth. The community should bear in mind the possible cumulative effects of wind turbines springing up all round the Firth of Clyde.

    Fortunately it is not too late to object to the Helensburgh turbines proposal and I would urge all of those 700 objectors, and others who may not have objected previously, to mobilise themselves and to object to this new proposed development, too.

    More information and a guide to the process for registering an objection with Argyll & Bute Council may be found at this website here: http://www.helturbines.org/your-say.html

    Alternatively you may write to: Planning Department, Argyll and Bute Council, Blairvadach, Shandon, Helensburgh, G84 8ND, or send an e-mail to sandra.davies@argyll-bute.gov.uk , quoting Planning Application No. 14/01674/PP and stating that you object to the application.

    Together, let us stop in its tracks this creeping industrialisation of our most precious landscape, before a single dangerous precedent is set.

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