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Town’s windfarm views to be taken on board

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By Christie Breen
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Town’s windfarm views to be taken on board

MOFFAT residents will be re-consulted about their views on the proposed Scoop Hill windfarm.

The town’s community council decided at last week’s meeting that they would carry out their own community consultation regarding the proposals put forward by Community Windpower Ltd (CWL), in order to gauge the support and opposition locally.

Community councillors will then use the information to draft a submission on behalf of residents for the public enquiry into the plans.

The formal public enquiry was triggered after members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee in March voted to lodge their opposition with Scottish Ministers to the 60 turbine scheme.

Elected members went against the advice of their own officials, citing concerns over the ‘significant and adverse effect on landscape, character and visual amenity in the locality’.

Moffat and District Community Council (MDCC) secretary Mick Barker believes that a community-led consultation is necessary and said: “In the light of the fact there has been this rejection and therefore a public enquiry to examine all the facts.

“Moffat’s Community Council is likely to be asked to present at the enquiry, but does not have a recent position on Scoop Hill. The community council took up a position of neutrality three or four years ago in order to ascertain the clear will of the community of Moffat.

“In the intervening period there have been events and publicity and it’s my personal opinion that it’s incumbent upon us as the community council to find a way of refreshing the views of the community so we can actually say this is what the community thinks as opposed to saying we don’t have a position from Moffat.”

Details of the new consultation are still being debated but members are keen for it to be carried out in a swift manner.

The move has been welcomed by members of the Save Our Hills Moffat campaign group. A spokesperson said: “Moffat Community Council’s decision to reconsult with the local community regarding the Scoop Hill windfarm development is welcomed.

“With the neighbouring community councils of Kirkpatrick Juxta and North Milk having already lodged objections to the Energy Consents Unit and a public inquiry expected to take place as a result of local councillors lodging an objection to the development, it seems entirely appropriate for MDCC to take steps to enable them to adopt a supportive stance of their community’s wishes rather than remaining of ‘no view’ as has been the long-held position. A new survey will allow this to occur.

“It is no exaggeration to say the combined current proposals for local windfarm developments constitutes the most significant industrial development in scale and landscape impact, to have been considered by Moffat’s residents in living memory. It is hoped that local people will take the opportunity to have their voices heard by participating in the survey, whatever their view may be.”

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