Developers are still pushing ahead with a wind farm above Helensburgh and Rhu – despite planners warning it has ‘little prospect of success’.
Glasgow Airport has objected to the plans for five 86.5-metre turbines on Tom Na H Airidh hill, saying they would generate ‘clutter’ on air traffic control radar screens forcing planes to make a diversion of ten nautical miles.
And planning officials at Argyll and Bute Council have written to the developers – Helensburgh Renewables, Green Cat and Luss Estates – inviting them to withdraw the plan, effectively saying the airport’s objection is non-negotiable.
An email from the planning office suggests the plan is withdrawn by the developers, saying of the airport objection: “This would seem a difficult one for you to address as they have advised that there is currently no technical mitigation to this problem.”
But today (Tuesday) Helensburgh Renewables seemed to disagree with the airport’s view and said they would not withdraw the plan: “Glasgow Airport’s response to the application for Helensburgh Community Wind Farm is just one of many statutory responses that we are working with.
“Whilst we are disappointed that Glasgow Airport’s objection has come in so late (and especially so considering that they gave us the green light following the submission of our pre-assessment application), a meeting is scheduled with the Airport on March 3 to discuss the mitigation options that are open to us.
“The output from that meeting will determine what, if any, amendments may need to be made to the application.”
In trying to win over opponents the developers have already submitted a second Environmental Impact Assessment, as well as a ‘Public Engagement Report’ – PDF attached at the end of this story – which drew somewhat unusual conclusions from the public’s response – a vote at a public meeting organised by the wind farm team was clearly against the plan, a fact ignored in the 23-page report, while polls organised by both the developers and Rhu and Shandon Community Council have shown clear majorities against the plan.
Scottish Natural Heritage and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park have failed to withdraw their objections, while the council’s planners warned even before the application was submitted that the turbines would be too big for that location.
The applicants now hope it will be considered by a council committee on April 22.