An elected member stated that there were so many planning applications for
windfarms lodged with Dumfries and Galloway Council, planning officers were
“overwhelmed”.

Cree Valley Community Councillors had just listened to an update from
representatives of Gamesa, about what stage their plans were to build a
15-turbine windfarm near Bargrennan.

Amy Townsend, from Gamesa, said that the renewable energy company’s plans
were in the early stages with surveys taking place on the site at the
moment. These were expected to take six months and “by that point”, she
said, “we will know if there are any major issues.”

When asked by Cree Valley Community Council acting chairman Clifford
Smithers when the windfarm would be operational, she replied “2019 at the
earliest, if planning is granted.”

Community Councillor Anthony Berretti expressed his concerns about the
ability of the road up to the Ochiltree site to cope with the heavy loads
as well as negotiating 54 metre blades. He suggested that sections of the
road would need to be upgraded.

Ms Townsend asked if the community council would be interested in a
community ownership scheme, but Mr Smithers said that it was too early in
the process to make decisions on that. But he added that at this stage the
community council would “rule nothing out”.

After the discussion with the Gamesa representatives had concluded,
community councillor Bob Boan expressing his growing concern over number of
windfarms that were appearing around the Cree Valley area. He raged that
the area from Challoch up to Givan was in danger of becoming a “windfarm
dump” and suggested the community council should take a stance on wind
power developments.

He added: “Our councillors are staying that enough is enough but it just
gets rubber-stamped in Edinburgh. We’re becoming a car park for wind farms.”

Clifford Smithers also voiced his frustration at the situation where
elected members on the council’s planning applications committee rejected a
windfarm application only to have that overturned by a Scottish Government
Reporter. He gave examples of renewable energy companies appealing to the
Scottish Government recently because no timeous decision had been made by
the council over their applications. Councillor Jim McColm pointed out the
huge number of wind farm applications the council officers were trying to
process was to blame, adding that the energy firms were within their rights
to appeal, however unpalatable communities found it.


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