IN the midst of his battle to retain his seat, Clydesdale’s Conservative MP David Mundell has expressed fury at a plan to build 140 giant wind turbines in the Lowther Valley.
Ironically, the man who was famously “Scotland’s lone Tory” in the last parliament had made the blocking of any further windpower developments in his constituency a major plank of his campaign.
With timing that could hardly have been worse for him, Buccleuch and 2020 Renewables, a prominent windfarm developer, announced last Wednesday they are “examining the potential for a significant windfarm in the Lowther Hills” and have already started the charm offensive to ‘sell’ the project to residents, many of whom claim their area already has too many turbines.
A spokesman for the developer revealed that behind-the-scenes talks over creating the windfarm near to Leadhills and Wanlockhead had already been going on with the Scottish Government and other interested parties.
The developers are pledging thousands of pounds in funding for local projects through the ‘compensation’ payments scheme for those who live near windfarms.
In addition, they say between 300 to 400 jobs will be created building the windfarm and around 30 permanent jobs serving it thereafter.
Alan Baker, managing director of 2020 Renewables, said: “It is apparent that the site has tremendous potential to deliver economic and environmental benefit on a very significant scale.
“When a windfarm is being considered on this scale it is normal practice to sound out the Scottish Government and other statutory consultees early in the process before embarking on a stakeholder engagement programme. Community engagement is of paramount importance .”
None of this impressed David Mundell, who said: “Enough is enough. This area has taken more than its fair share of windfarm development. We have reached saturation point. Local people are under relentless attack from windfarm developers. No sooner had the nearby Leadhills windfarm application been refused after strong opposition from the local community than this proposal is brought forward.”