Argyll & Bute MSP Michael Russell has called on PNE Wind to withdraw its proposal for a major wind farm, which would be sited above Dunoon and Innellan on the Cowal Peninsula, but which would be visible from all along the lower Clyde, and as far away as the Isles of Bute and Cumbrae.
In an open letter to the developers, written after a well-attended public meeting held in Dunoon on Friday night (13th March), Mr Russell has outlined a number of reasons why the plan should not proceed to the formal planning stage, and has also expressed concern that the reputation of the Forestry Commission is suffering as a result of their involvement with the project.
Commenting on the proposed development, Mr Russell said:
“I am dismayed that PNE Wind have fallen well short of the standards of consultation expected by my constituents when a major planning application arises in their communities. Their failure to thoroughly consult representatives of the communities in Dunoon and Cowal was laid bare last Friday night, when they failed to attend a public meeting called by the relevant Community Councils to examine the proposals in more detail.
“The application includes areas that have been refused permission twice before by the community, and the choice of site was described by one attendee at the meeting as ‘the worst visual intrusion of any such proposal’. Moreover, there is a significant body of opinion within the community that questions this use of the Forestry Estate, given that the Forestry Commission is the landowner of the proposed wind farm site. As a former Environment Minister in the Scottish Government, I am therefore deeply concerned that the Forestry Commission’s good reputation within the community will be put at stake if the Bachan Burn application proceeds to the formal planning stage.
“I am a strong supporter of the Scottish Government’s energy and renewables policy, and I listened carefully to the arguments from both sides on the Bachan Burn wind farm proposal. However, as the project does not command local support, for the reasons highlighted above, I have therefore taken the unusual step of writing an open letter to PNE Wind to urge them to withdraw this proposal.”