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Scoop Hill ‘no objections’ advice

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By Christie Breen
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Scoop Hill ‘no objections’ advice

PLANNING officials are advising councillors not to raise any objections to a controversial windfarm plan near Moffat.

The 60 turbine Scoop Hill development will ultimately be decided by the Scottish Government.

But it is due to go before the council’s planning applications committee next Thursday as they are statutory consultees.

And the recommendation for local elected members is to raise no objections to the scheme.

Community Windpower Ltd are planning 60 turbines standing 250 metres tall and a battery storage facility approximately five kilometres south east of the town.

In their extensive report, the planners acknowledge that it would have ‘a significant and adverse effect on landscape character and visual amenity’, both on an individual and cumulative basis, as well as having adverse effects on the Moffat Hills Regional Scenic Areas and on core paths and public rights of way.

However, the report states: “It is important to recognise the positive social, environmental and economic benefits associated with this proposal carry a lot of weight in this recommendation.”

They note that the proposal has been ‘significantly amended’ to address objections raised by the council’s landscape architect and say there could be scope for further mitigation of adverse aviation lighting and for practical mitigation to take place ‘on the ground’.

The report goes on: “Whilst it is recognised that some adverse and significant impacts would still arise as a result of this proposal, it is considered that, in the balance of considerations, these are mainly localised and have the subject of mitigation such that when a balanced and holistic assessment is made of the proposal against the terms of the whole development plan.

“The conclusion is that the council should support this proposal and raise no objection to the proposed development in its consultation response to the Scottish ministers.”

Commenting on the recommendations ahead of Thursday’s meeting, managing director of Community Windpower, Rod Wood said: “We are delighted that Dumfries and Galloway’s own planning officer has concluded that the committee should raise no objections to Scoop Hill Community Wind Farm going ahead.

“The project will create hundreds of jobs, bring in tens of millions of pounds of local investment and help fight climate change by decarbonising the energy grid and providing clean, green electricity.

“Local residents also stand to benefit from a £2.16 million-per-year community benefit fund, which could be used for a variety of things such as to set up an energy support scheme, giving vulnerable people in Moffat and surrounding communities discounts on their gas and electricity bills.

“We would urge local residents who believe in the benefits of the project to contact their local councillor, voicing their support for the scheme.”

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