Moscow wind energy plant plans blown out

Rob Fryer, director of Community Windpower Ltd, was on Friday given a chance to convince the Northern Local Planning Committee that his company’s plans for a 20 wind turbines development at Cowans Law would benefit the area.

But despite an energetic pitch – in which he highlighted inaccuracies in the council’s official planning report – elected members were not swayed and the proposals are set to be officially rejected at a future cabinet meeting. Mr Fryer claimed this would fly in the face of targets set by the Scottish Government.

Objectors to the development, which Mr Fryer says would inject £30m into the Scottish economy, also spoke at the meeting. They comprised three local residents, Moscow and Waterside Community Council and a representative from Scottish Power Renewables (SPR).

The proposed wind farm would border the existing Whitelee one, which is operated by SPR.

Mr Fryer, after telling councillors that distances quoted in the planning papers relating to the proximity of his proposed development and that of local homes and Whitelee windfarm were inaccurate, added: “The report fails to mention that the Scottish Government has increased its target on renewable energy and a development like this would help. That to me is a significant omission as there is political will (nationally) for this sort of project.

“There are no objections from the statutory bodies about this and the person who lives nearest the site has written a letter of support. It will bring money and jobs into the area at both the construction stage and when it’s operational. East Ayrshire Council will receive £125,000 annually for the renewable energy fund and local communities will also receive £75,000 per year.

“This is an exciting project and I hope the substantial benefits outlined will outweigh any adverse visual impact.”

But it was the “adverse impacts”, as stated by objectors, which found favour with councillors. The main bones of contention were noise issues, loss of visual amenity, destruction of the environment and safety issues created by the construction process.

Councillor Tom Cook said he hadn’t been convinced by Mr Fryer’s arguments and stated that “East Ayrshire had played more than its part” in providing space for turbines.

Planning chairman Alan Brown, SNP, said he agreed with planners’ recommendations to refuse and party colleague, Iain Linton, said he wanted it put on record that the support for refusal was unanimous. The proposals will go before cabinet at a later date when the final decision will be made.

By David Wynn, Kilmarnock Standard,