Scaled-down Scottish Gass wind farm wins planning approval after four-year battle

Willowind Energy turbineThe 20MW Gass wind farm in Dumfriesshire has been granted planning permission after a four year approval process.

The project is being developed by WilloWind Energy-  which is based in Mayfair, central London –  and Sgurr Energy, Wood Group’s renewable energy consultancy.

Commenting on the revised plan, Suki Atwal, Director of WilloWind Energy, said: “One of our priorities is to improve the level of community consultation on our projects and I believe that Gass now represents a scheme the community can be proud of. 

“The development will yield both significant economic and social benefits to the surrounding areas of Glenluce, New Luce and Kirkcowan.

“Our community benefit package of £5,000 for every MW consented, totals over £100,000 per year over the 25 year lifespan of the project and provides a genuine opportunity for local communities to develop sustainable projects that will benefit not only the local economy but the communities themselves. 

“We will continue to engage with the communities on how best that can be done, in particular through our local community liaison forum”.

Sgurr Energy’s environmental team managed the application process for WillowWind over a four year period from initial site design, wind measurement and on-site survey work through to the submission of a comprehensive planning application, including a full environmental impact assessment.

Over those four years, the Glasgow-based company navigated numerous challenges and planning requirements, including managing the impact of the project on the landscape and surrounding properties, avoiding impact on protected sites and habitats, as well as minimising residential amenity issues, in particular, the impact of the cumulative noise of this specific wind farm and other nearby developments.

In addition, Sgurr Energy delivered a series of habitat improvement commitments which should see the restoration of large areas of blanket bog, a habitat which has seen significant decline across the UK.

Greg McAlister, environment team leader, said: “This decision shows that even in what has become a challenging environment for UK renewables, there are still opportunities for success if projects are developed in the right place and sympathetic to the needs of local communities and stakeholders. “

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