Energy firm in firing line over Midlothian windfarm plans

Professor Tony Trewavas, an outspoken crtitic of the proposed windfarm, at the Mount Lothian site

Professor Tony Trewavas, an outspoken crtitic of the proposed windfarm, at the Mount Lothian site

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A windfarm developer’s decision to take contentious plans to the Scottish Government has been described as an “affront to local democracy”.

As previously reported in the Advertiser, Wind Prospect lodged an appeal after Midlothian Council failed to reach a decision on the proposed development of nine turbines at Mount Lothian Moss, near Penicuik, within four months of submission.

Infuriated local councillors last week pledged to do everything in their power to persuade Scottish Ministers to refuse the application.

Council leader Owen Thompson (SNP) told the planning committee: “It’s deeply disappointing that the applicant has chosen to take the action that they have. They have essentially taken the decision out of the hands of the committee, denying the local residents, who would have represented views to a pre-application hearing, the chance to have their say.”

Commenting on the Mount Lothian wind farm appeal, Wind Prospect Development Manager Karen Thorburn said: “Wind Prospect Developments, on behalf of EDF Energy Renewables, submitted an appeal to the Scottish Government for non-determination of its planning application for the Mount Lothian wind farm, submitted to Midlothian Council in January this year.

“The planning committee was expected to consider the application by the end of May, within the 16 week determination period from the date the planning application was submitted. The decision to lodge an appeal was taken as the council did not determine the application within the statutory 16 week period and did not request for that period to be extended.

“Additional survey work was carried out in the vicinity of the Mount Lothian site to prepare for the appeal and there was a further opportunity for the local community to express their views about the project as part of the process.

“We are committed to the Mount Lothian proposal and the substantial benefits it could deliver to Midlothian. The 20.7 megawatt (MW) project would produce enough low carbon electricity to supply the needs of around 11,000 homes.* Additionally, over its 25 year lifetime, this project could generate around £2.5 million for local community and environmental initiatives, as well as deliver further benefits for the wider local economy. During our consultation it became clear that many people in the local community recognise the substantial benefits this project could bring and we hope these can be fully realised.”

Read full story in this week’s Advertiser. Out now.