The chairman of an East Ayrshire community council has appealed for comments and contributions relating to the appeal for a new wind farm near Glasgow over important planning issues relating to private water supplies and environmental rights of audience.
Sneddon Law wind farm is adjacent to and surrounded by Scottish Power’s Whitelee wind farm, near Glasgow, on three sides and it shares much of the same solid geology and surface structure as Whitelee, one of the biggest onshore turbine parcs in Europe.
Community Windpower Ltd’s (CWL) proposed Sneddon Law wind farm is three miles north of Galston. It would comprise 15 turbines ( a total of 20 was originally proposed) and would generate up to 45-MW of electricity. The proposed turbines would have a typical tip height of up to 130 meters.
If built, Community Windpower Ltd will pay in to the East Ayrshire Renewable Energy Fund which has been set up as a structured payment scheme for residents who live local to renewable energy developments.
The annual standard rate payable into the scheme is £2,500 per megawatt installed which would mean up to £112,500 per annum would be contributed to the scheme.
Community Windpower Ltd operates from an office near Motherwell, while the company’s head office is in Cheshire.
The company is currently building four other wind farms in North Ayrshire, East Lothian and South Lanarkshire as part of its plan to invest more than £1 billion into the Scottish economy.
Through its eight operational and consented projects, it has invested £300 million to date. This will increase to £700 million by 2017 and £1 billion by 2020.
Community Windpower Ltd also operates two BeGreen energy advice centres in Dalry, North Ayrshire and at Dunbar in East Lothian.
But Rachel Connor of Moscow and Waterside Community Council, said: “The Sneddon Law wind farm was originally permitted by East Ayrshire Council in 2012 yet it has taken <the developer> Community Windpower Ltd (CWL) nearly five years to commission the related Private Water Supply Risk Assessment (PWS RA)
“This has only happened because in January 2016 the council refused to discharge the planning condition that was supposed to protect people’s water supplies.
“As a result of that refusal, CWL have submitted an Appeal to the Scottish Government (DPEA) and this PWS planning condition is now due to be considered at a public Hearing, probably at the Fenwick Hotel starting on 9 January 2017.
“As a result, we now have more evidence of the potential for the Sneddon Law Windfarm to seriously affect our private water supplies, with the recently published Sneddon Law WF Private Water Supply Risk Assessment (PWS RA): https://app.box.com/s/61683trl1bryoq9sjlyp1wvffufpk945
Connor added: “In view of the large number of private water schemes now deemed to be at significant risk, with their owners/consumers left completely in the dark about the risk to their homes, families and businesses until very recently, that hearing has now been rescheduled to allow for public comment.
“The Private Water Supply Risk Assessment report is from the developer’s own expert consultants and witnesses (Glasgow-based geohydrologists MacArthur Green) which (at last) lists eight private water supplies as now being at major risk for loss of, or pollution to their PWS, with 12 being at ‘moderate’ risk.
“Twenty private water supplies in total are considered to be at significant risk, applying the appropriate Environmental Impact Regulations. All of these PWS now considered to be at significant risk are outside SEPA’s designated 250m ‘one size fits all’ buffer zone.
“This is SEPA’s rule of thumb for the minimum distance for a water source to lie from a wind farm related excavation of more than 1 metre in depth (ie borrow pits or turbine foundations.) This rule of thumb is “designed” to provide absolute protection for private water supplies. But it does not do that.
“There is, however, one large water source at Sneddon Law which is supplying three stock farms and a trout fishery. This diffuse source, as yet unidentified and uncharted by CWL seems likely to be within the wind farm boundary and perhaps within 250m of high risk excavations of >1m. Its omission is inexplicable.”
“Because the new PWS RA, just lodged with the Reporter highlights so many PWS which will be at risk, along with the livelihoods of three farms, a trout fishery and country sports facility, the Reporter has agreed that this new information needs public notification, as is required under the Åarhus convention and under current EIA regulations.”
A spokesman for Community Windpower said: “We believe in an open and consultative approach with local host communities during all stages of the development process to ensure clean energy is generated to meet local energy needs”.
The DPEA has now provided clarification as to where this information can be found and where public comment can be submitted.
Interested parties have until 21 December 2016 to submit comment on this Private Water Supply Risk Assessment.
Comments should sent to case Officer: Colin.Bell@gov.scot
The full case can be viewed at www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk case No PPA-190-2058 and at