By Rita Campbell
Plans for a 17-turbine wind farm in Argyll failed to gain the support of
local councillors yesterday who feared it would have a detrimental impact
on peat resources in the area.
Argyll and Bute Council was asked to respond to a Scottish Government
consultation on the proposal by Coriolis Energy.
Blarghour Wind Farm is proposed to be situated between Loch Awe and Loch
Fyne, just under five miles north west of Inveraray. The turbines would be
visible from the villages of Dalavich and Inverinan.
Turbines would have a maximum ground-to-tip height of 447ft and there would
be an access track to the A819 Inveraray to Dalmally road. These turbines
would be taller than the ones at the nearby An Suidhe wind farm.
But it was concerns raised by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) about the
impact of the development on soil and peat resources which encouraged
councillors to back the planning department’s recommendation to object.
Senior planner Arlene Knox said: “SNH have concerns about the impact on the
carbon rich soils and deep peatlands. There are also concerns about the
impact on the landscape.”
Councillor Robin Currie said: “The fact that SNH are objecting, that’s
serious isn’t it?”
“That’s correct,” replied Ms Knox.
She concluded: “It is accepted that the proposal would make an important
contribution to Scottish Government renewable energy targets and greenhouse
gas emissions.
“However taking all matters into account as well as the most recent reports
and the overall impact on peat, landscapes and local habitats the proposal
would produce, this would outweigh the benefits.”
So far there have been 105 letters of representation made to the Scottish
Government’s Energy Consents Unit with 65 in support and 40 objections.
Supporters cite the positive impacts of farm diversification and economic
benefits. They also praise the habitat management plan and say wind farms
are the least obtrusive way of generating power.
Objectors say there will be an adverse impact on the landscape, that the
scale and siting is unacceptable and Loch Awe is already a significant
producer of renewable energy.
Lynne Sweeney, project development manager at Coriolis Energy, said: “We
are disappointed that the officers recommendation didn’t take account of
the extra environmental information we supplied.
“The objection was based on the impact on peat and not the landscape.”
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