Green light sought for wind turbine

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AN APPLICATION for a 46.5 metre high wind turbine at Cottortown, Kilry has been recommended for conditional approval by the director of infrastructure services.

The proposed turbine will sit on rough grazing land down from the north-facing slope of Balduff Hill beside the ruins of a stone enclosure. Both the site and the surrounding land are owned by the applicant Mrs Diane Ramsay.

Eric Lowson, director of infrastructure services, said in a report to the committee: “The applicants operate Wester Derry Farm and they wish to contribute towards green tourism by the erection of the wind turbine.”

A number of sustainable practices are already in place at the farm including the use of geothermal heat with a heat pump providing both heat and hot water. At further premises on the farm land power is partially generated from its own micro-hydroelectric scheme.

He added: “Wester Derry Farm is also a member of the Green Tourism Business Scheme which is recognised for promoting sustainable practices.”

To date there have been 29 letters of representation including 28 letters of objection and one letter of support.

The letter of support states that it is a suitable location for such a renewable energy resource. It goes on to say that the wind turbine should not cause an adverse impact on the environment and that it will support the Scottish Government’s target of 50% of electricty being generated from renewable sources by 2020.

Objections include the affect it may have visually on the area, on flora and fauna and on the viability of surrounding farmland. Concerns have also been raised regarding the impact of noise on the area, causing a potential traffic hazard during construction, setting an undesirable precedent and inadequate access to the site.

Mr Lowson said: “In respect of landscape impacts, it is considered that the turbine will be in scale with the surrounding landscape. The current proposals only involve one turbine at 46.5 metres high and will not add a new element to the existing surrounding landscape.”

He added: “In respect of visual impacts, it is considered that the proposal will not have an adverse affect on the visual amenity of any nearby residents and the wind turbine will not appear as an obtrusive feature in views.”

Concerns about the impact on local flora and fauna such as bats, bees, newts, wild cats and red squirrels have also been addressed and both Scottish Natural Heritage and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have raised no objections.

The turbine will be in operation for 25 years after which time it will be dismantled and the site will be restored within six months.

Mr Lowson concluded: “The scale of the turbine is considered acceptable for the location and the development is considered to comply with development plan policy. I note the representations submitted but do not consider that the matters raised justify refusal of the application.”