Windfarm wanted on Kilpatrick Hills?

location map of Kilpatrick Hills between Dumbarton & Clydebank

24 turbines 300 feet high are proposed from Loch Humphrey to Duncolm and surrounding the Fyn Loch by Airtricity Development Ltd, an Irish company based in Gourock. There will also be access roads, transformers, buildings and buried cables to connect to the electricity supply grid. Airtricity staff came to Clydebelt's November 2002 meeting to answer our questions. Most members, and most people at our January 2004 meeting, are opposed, so Clydebelt has objected.

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Consultation and decision

A very detailed Environmental Statement could be seen in all local libraries (or obtained from Land Use Consultants 0141 334 9595) and a Planning Statement was in the Clydebank council offices.

Scottish Executive approval is needed, not the Council's.
Objections were due by 28th January 2004 to the Scottish Executive Consents Unit. Representations were accepted up to 5th April from members of the public, but responses beyond the original deadline may not be taken into account by a Public Inquiry, if it comes to one. Three petitions with 11, 16 and 7 names were submitted. About 50 individuals and families wrote objections, often based on Clydebelt's sample letter. The only support was from the two farms involved. There were strong objections from SNH, RSPB, Historic Scotland, Loch Lomond & Trossach National Park, Kilmaronock Community Council, Duntocher Tenants' & Residents' Association, East Dunbartonshire Council, Royal Fine Arts Commission for Scotland, etc. The responses can be read at West Dunbartonshire Council offices in Dumbarton.

As a result of these responses, the Scottish Executive have asked Airtricity for further information, especially on bird migration, and may eventually advertise another public consultation.

West Dunbartonshire Council's planning official's report to the Planning Committee recommended objecting to the application, and forcing it to a Public Inquiry. On 5th May the Planning Committee agreed the report and objected to the proposal, subject to the further information that the Executive have requested.

map of GCV windfarm search area Consultation ended on 20th June 2005 on draft alterations to the Joint Structure Plan 2000 for the Glasgow and the Clyde Valley. Although it excludes some of the Airtricity site, we objected that part of the Kilpatrick Hills was designated as a "potential area of search for windfarms" (see yellow part of their map on the right, compared with the map above map for the Airtricity application). It includes the Fyn, Black and Lily Lochs, and Duncolm and Doughnot Hill, and is just north of Loch Humphrey, the Greenside Reservoir and Cochno Loch. Fortunately the most recently proposed version of the Structure Plan responded to objections, and has removed this area of search.

In November 2006 we learned that West Dunbartonshire Council will drop this area in the Local Plan as designated for windfarms up to 50MW.

Main points from Clydebelt's 10-page letter of objection:

What's good about windfarms?

The main claims are that they produce energy without harmful carbon dioxide emissions, and don't deplete the finite fossil fuels. The government wants lots of them (see "Scotland's Renewable Energy Potential - Beyond 2010" ). The Executive is committed to generating 40% of electricity in Scotland from a variety of renewable sources - including wind, wave, hydro and biomass - by 2020. The Renewables Obligation (Scotland) currently compels suppliers to provide 10.4 per cent of electricity from renewable sources, until 2010. There are proposals to extend this obligation until 2015-16, rising in steps of one per cent each year, to 15.4 per cent. Public Attitudes to Windfarms finds that only 12% of people living near wind farms are concerned about the impact on the landscape, and only 7% say they had a negative impact.

What's bad about windfarms?

The Enterprise Committee of the Scottish Parliament published a report on 30th June 2004 criticising the planning process for wind farms, adding that that more should be done to develop wave power and tidal technology.

Views Of Scotland say that other forms of alternative energy might be better than wind farms. Scottish Wind Watch aims to build a nation-wide campaigning organisation to oppose all large wind-power developments in Scotland on economic as well as landscape grounds. They entered candidates in the 2004 European Elections.

The Case Against Windfarms has been researched by Country Guardian. Points include:

Most Clydebelt members believe that the Kilpatrick Hills - especially this part - are too highly valued to locate a windfarm on them. One of our members who went to Airtricity's first exhibition said: their windfarm will destroy the area and pollute visually and audibly for miles around. Another emailed: it is maybe possible to argue in a more constructive vein that windfarms should come, but that they should be in an appropriate location. Industrial estates are often good locations; they are close to users of power, and there is often sufficient background noise from the industry that the extra noise from the turbines is masked.

The site is in a Regional Scenic Area, with access through Green Belt. The turbines would be visible from the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, including from the Loch itself. The Glasgow and Clyde Valley Structure Plan, the Dumbarton Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Guidlelines on Renewable Energy discourage windfarm development in a Regional Scenic Area such as the Kilpatricks, or outwith designated preferred places (which are to the south and east of Glasgow). The adopted Clydebank Local Plan contains a policy limiting this kind of development.

There are vulnerable birds here, like black grouse on the RSPB danger list.

Other groups are opposing windfarms in sensitive areas: behind Greenock (Airtricity again), around Abington, Crawford and Elvanfoot where Airtricity want to erect 200 wind turbines, 6 windfarms on the eastern Ochil hills (including Mellock Hill and Innerdouny Hill near the national nature reserve at Loch Leven and RSPB Vane Farm), in Caithness (rejected on 15th September 2003 - landscape and proximity to housing), on Skye (now approved), in Angus (currently withdrawn), and near Stonehaven (application rejected). In Cumbria locals were very unhappy with an existing windfarm just outside the Lake District National Park, and others have objected to plans for another. See Stop Wadlow Wind Farm in Cambridgeshire. Also see the web site - an exchange of information, news and ideas regarding the current proliferation of windfarms particularly in some of the most beautiful parts of Britain.

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Pop-up image of road map produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey. created 29/6/02, modified 22-09-13 by Dutyhog.


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