We are delighted to announce that the appeal to Scottish Government made by Falck Renewables and Coriolis Energy to overturn the previously rejected planning permission for the windfarm at Mochrum Fell has been successful.
Planning permission has been granted subject to 28 conditions, details of which can be found on the Scottish Governments website, www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk.
On the 24th July 2015 the decision was made by the Dumfries and Galloway Planning Committee to reject the development of the above windfarm on grounds of Landscape. Their decision was however subjective and ignored the objective evidence presented by the professional consultants. We were also concerned to learn at the hearing that the socio-economic benefits of the scheme to the people of Dumfries and Galloway held no weight in their decision process. The developer has appealed this decision with the Scottish Government and our letter of support follows.
13/P/2/0327 – MOCHRUM FELL WINDFARM
I am writing to further my support for the development of the above wind farm.
As one of the landowners who would benefit from this scheme I am not impartial. I am however running a diverse business that must be sustainable if it is to continue to support the local economy, be that through employment, affordable housing, tourism or primary production. We have been a local employer and resident since the 19th century and my wife and I have huge aspirations to grow our business base further, which in turn will support the local economy both directly and indirectly. Estates require significant investment and more often than not this exceeds revenue. Diversification is key to business success. We see our region, together with so many in Dumfries and Galloway, as having huge tourism potential. Unlocking this potential requires capital and this scheme provides that capital both for the local community and ourselves. The community benefit fund could raise in the region of £3 million; add the additional financial benefit of a community turbine, the direct community income would be substantial.
The economy of Dumfries and Galloway is too dependent on few economic drivers, all seasonally variable: agriculture, forestry and tourism. In comparison, rentals and community benefits from renewable electricity generation is stable, improving the diversity and resilience of the local economy. At an indirect level, income from windfarms is readily recycled within the local area, providing an important multiplier effect and positive feedback for self-employment and the working population, with their consequent need for services. The construction phase of this project will support 235 full time jobs in Scotland (75 of these in Dumfries and Galloway). Once operational it will support 15 full time jobs (6 in Dumfries and Galloway). Adding the evidence from Government Research that 75% of tourists believe windfarms have a beneficial or neutral impact on our landscape, it would be short sighted for us to miss such an opportunity for what is essentially something that will exist on our landscape for only 25 years.
This scheme has undergone a great deal of scrutiny from professional consultants and ourselves. In my earlier letters of support, I made reference to the 1000+ pages of environmental assessment for this scheme. All professional consultants assessed this proposal: Visual, Ecological, Aviation/telecom, Access/traffic/transport, Noise/flicker socio-economical – all impacts were deemed acceptably and the Council’s Planning Officer recommended the proposal for approval. Unfortunately however the fact of visibility, albeit from a very limited area, swayed Dumfries and Galloway Planning Committee who made a subjective decision to not approve the scheme, purely upon landscape grounds. In addition, I was also informed by the committee that socio-economic benefits can have no weight in the decision process, although I am reliably informed to the contrary in other hearings. Their decision process seems to lack balance and rigour and I therefore support this appeal.
In summary, any effects on the landscape and visual amenity must be weighed up against not only the Scottish Governments policy requirements to meet renewable energy targets, but also the socio-economic benefits the scheme will bring to the local economy, both directly and indirectly. It is clear the proposal for this windfarm has been amended such that these visual and landscape impacts fall within acceptable limits and consequently this scheme should be approved.
The new Loch Lurkie water supply is now fully operational. We have replaced the former Victorian infrastructure / filtration system with a modern OFSY / ozone system designed to meet the needs and standards of modern day living. The supply provides potable water to 15 properties and a dairy; a total of around 30,000 litres per day or nearly 11 million litres per year! It has certainly been a journey and we thank all those on the supply for their patience over this transitional period. We must remember water is a precious commodity, even in the climate of Dumfries and Galloway!
In 2012 we installed a state of the art biomass boiler to heat a number of properties on the estate. The system is fueled entirely from sustainably grown estate timber (managed to FSC standards). As we are no longer burning oil, around 188 tonnes less CO2 is released into the atmosphere each year. The forestry on the estate is also doing its bit…. it captures circa 14600 tonnes of CO2 per year!
In 2013 we looked at installing another biomass boiler to heat 7 further properties and a dairy. Unfortunately the cost of infrastructure made the project unfeasible.
We are currently seeking funding for a new residential development on the estate (Further detail can be found under residential news). The project seeks to provide 5 affordable lets, heated with a biomass district heating system under an ESCO agreement. The project also aims to harness rainwater for domestic use.
Biomass boilers aside, a majority of the residential lets on the estate are also sustainably heated with wood burning stoves. Fuel for these stoves is provided by our small woodfuel business. Further detail can be found by clicking on the forestry section of this website.
Join the woodfuel revolution!
Coriolis Energy / Falck Renewables currently have a planning application in place for an 33 MW Windfarm on Mochrum Fell. What follows is our letter of support detailing the benefits the scheme will bring to the local economy, community and environment. This letter was sent to the planners in support of the application.
13/P/2/0327 – MOCHRUM FELL WINDFARM
I am writing to register my support for the development of the above wind farm. I believe that wind is a valuable resource that can help reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment for future generations.
As one of the landowners who would benefit from this scheme I am not impartial. I am however running a diverse business that that must be sustainable if it is to continue to support the local economy be that through employment, affordable housing, or primary production. Renewables have a key role to play in diversification. We are also local residents and have been so since 1884. We live here because we love it and consequently the lease agreement between the developer / operator underwent a great deal of scrutiny. People are entitled to their opinion but they must know the facts. I have therefore decide to summaries some of the key points from the impartially created Environmental Impact Assessment, a 1000+ page document detailing the specifics of the scheme.
Visual Impact – On studying the photo representation from 21 designated sites it is clear the turbines have been carefully sited to respect logistical, economic and environmental sensitivities; in many of the visuals the turbines are barely visible due to the clever use of topography. The initial size and number of turbines has also been reduced considerably. I would also like to add these structures are not permanent features on our landscape with an operational lifespan of 25 years after which the land is reinstated.
Ecological Impacts – There assessment states there are no significant ecological impacts on habitats and the various species living within these habitats. Nor are there any significant risks to geology, hydrogeology, or hydrology. If anything the biodiversity may be being improved with the planting of more biodiversity woodland to offset removed timber. Archaeological mitigation will also offset the potential loss of any archaeological resources’.
Noise / Flicker Impacts – Background noise levels are within the government endorsed guidelines and flicker will not cause a material reduction in residential amenity at properties within 1030m.
Aviation and Telecom Impacts – Clearly considered and mitigated with no significant impact.
Access, Traffic, Transport: – Clearly considered and mitigated with no significant impacts. Unlike many other schemes new roads are not being created within the option area as many of the roads already exists and only require a small upgrade.
Socio-economic Impacts – The construction phase of the project will support 235 full time jobs in Scotland (75 of these in Dumfries and Galloway). Once operational it will support 15 full time jobs (6 of these in Dumfries and Galloway). Scottish Government Research conducted on tourists also states that 75% of tourists believe wind farms have a beneficial or neutral impact on the landscape. The developer has also agreed to a community benefit fund of £5000 per MWof installed capacity for the operational lifespan of the farm. The proposed capacity is 33MW that would make available £165,000 per annum for local projects or rather £4,125,000 throughout its operational lifespan.
It is clearly evident that the scheme has been well designed with no significant residual effects predicted by the ecology; ornithology; geology; hydrology and hydrogeology; access, traffic and transport; aviation; noise; socio-economics; or shadow and forest assessments. I have professional confidence in the developer and the operator. It will benefit the local economy through investment and employment throughout its 25-year operational life span.