Sandy Knowe wind farm plan rejected

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Plans for a 30-turbine wind farm near Kirkconnel in Upper Nithsdale have been rejected by the Scottish government.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing refused consent for Burcote Wind's Sandy Knowe scheme in Dumfries and Galloway.

Developers said they were "bitterly disappointed" by the decision.

However, Mr Ewing said he agreed with Scottish Natural Heritage which had raised serious concerns over cumulative impact and adverse landscape and visual affect the wind farm would have.

"Scotland has enormous potential for renewable energy that is delivering jobs and investment across Scotland, and I am determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefits from renewable energy," he said.

"We need a balanced approach in taking forward this policy and have to consider what impact any development would have on the local area.

"That is why I have refused permission for the proposed Sandy Knowe wind farm, which would have had an unacceptable landscape and visual impact, in the Dumfries and Galloway area."

He said the Scottish government wants to see the "right developments in the right places".

Fraser Campbell, operations director for Burcote Wind, said the scheme had "massive support" from local residents.

"Those people will now miss out on the £450,000 per annum community benefit fund associated with the development which local groups had already began to plan to use to deliver long-term socio-economic benefits for the whole of Upper Nithsdale," he said.

He said the company would consider its options for the site but felt the Scottish government had missed a "huge opportunity" to meet carbon reduction targets while bringing jobs to a deprived area.

"If projects such as Sandy Knowe cannot be consented then it is hard to see how these tough targets can be met," he added.

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