South Scotland

Solway wind farm of 'little' community benefit

wind farm generic Image copyright NIC BOTHMA

The Robin Rigg wind farm, off the Solway Coast, has had little benefit for those living on the Scottish side of the estuary, a new report suggests.

It follows a study by academics from Glasgow and Cumbria universities, who examined the social and culture impact of the development.

They found it had a mildly negative impact on fishing and funding benefits from the scheme had been negligible.

The wind farm was constructed in 2009 and is the largest in Scotland.

It features 60 turbines and sits in the Solway Estuary about 11 km from the Dumfries and Galloway coast and 13.5km from the Cumbrian coastline.

The area is traditionally associated with fishing and also benefits from tourism.

The report said that following the construction of the wind farm, there had been a reduction in fishing activity in the area when compared to the days before the project was constructed.

Dr Darrell Smith from the University of Cumbria said there was also a general "disappointment" among the local community about the perceived long-term benefits of the project for the region.

He said: "One or two people mentioned the community funds that have come to the Scottish coast in terms of some sort of payment and they didn't feel that whilst these funds were provided for community amenities or community benefit, they felt that the funds themselves were fairly small and they didn't actually help with any sort of lasting employment that came out of the wind turbines being there."

The report said that there was a case for more consideration to be given to the connection local people felt with a particular region when similar projects were planned in future.

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