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Huge wind farm refused planning permission over community impact

Consent for the 387ft Harelaw Renewable Energy Park was refused by energy minister Fergus Ewing.

Wind farm schemes approved

A proposal to build a 387ft wind farm in East Ayrshire has been denied planning permission over concerns about the potential impact on the local community.

Consent for the Harelaw Renewable Energy Park, which was to be situated on Glenouther Moor, south of Neilston, was refused by energy minister Fergus Ewing.

The minister acted on advice from the public inquiry reporter that the design of the facility and the height of the turbines would have had a negative impact on the surrounding landscape.

There were also fears that nearby homeowners would suffer elevated noise from the turbines.

Gamesa Energy UK Ltd had applied to build a 117MW wind farm with 40 turbines with a tip height up to 118m, or 387ft, on the moor, which is located largely in East Ayrshire but also partly in neighbouring East Renfrewshire.

The two local authorities were united in their opposition to the project and warned it would have significant landscape, visual and noise impacts as well as negatively affecting local businesses.

Mr Ewing said: "Scotland has enormous potential for renewable energy that is delivering jobs and investment across Scotland, and I am determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefit from renewable energy – but not at any cost and we will ensure a balanced approach in taking forward this policy, as we have in the past and will in future. The significant adverse impacts of the proposed Glenouther Moor wind farm to the local communities is too great.

“The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places and Scottish planning policy is clear that the design and location of any wind farm should reflect the scale and character of the landscape and should be considered environmentally acceptable.”

Scottish ministers have considered 86 energy applications since May 2007 and granted consent for 32 onshore wind farms, 1 offshore wind farm, 19 hydro facility, 4 wave and tidal proposals, 2 renewable thermal plants and 18 non-renewable projects. Consent has been refused on ten occasions, including Harelaw Renewable Energy Park and nine other wind farms.

Ministers are currently considering a further 57 applications.

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