Dark Sky Observatory

Campaigners are warning that a world famous Dark Sky Park in the south of Scotland is under threat from wind turbine applications.

Live updates

Scottish Government will "take responses into account"

"The Scottish Government consulted on the draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) earlier this year.

"It included proposals to guide local authorities in the preparation of spatial frameworks for wind energy development.

"We received a large number of responses to the consultation, including many views on onshore wind, and will take these responses into account when we publish the finalised SPP next year."

– Scottish Government spokesman

Astronomer calls on help of First Minister

The park is home to the only publicly accessible, research-grade observatory within a Gold Tier Dark Sky Park in the world.

The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory estimates that it will attract 100,000 visitors each year within five years of being established.

Professor John Brown is the Astronomer Royal for Scotland and he is asking First Minister Alex Salmond to help ensure wind farms are not allowed near the Dark Sky Park:

"Installing any large structures that require illumination would be like putting a factory in Glen Coe.

"Our First Minister was instrumental in helping to secure funding for the observatory and he opened it with much passion and aplomb in October last, praising Scotland for leading the world with this fine public and educational facility.

"But Mr Salmond is also an ardent advocate of wind farms and so faces a dilemma.

"I, for one, would call upon him now to prove his sincere interest in our wild lands and skies by ensuring wind farms and other dark sky contaminants are excluded from the entire Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.

"This would lay down a benchmark for future decisions on all similar wild land sites where wind farms are wholly inappropriate."

– Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland

To find out more about the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory click here.

Advertisement

Campaigners say Dark Sky Park is under threat

The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory based in Galloway Credit: Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

Campaigners are warning that a world famous Dark Sky Park in the south of Scotland is under threat from wind turbine applications.

The Astronomer Royal for Scotland, the John Muir Trust and the Scottish Wild Land Group have written an open letter to the the Scottish Government asking it to rule out the construction of windfarms in the vicinity of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.

Mark Gibson, chairman of the board of trustees of the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory says there are nine separate sets of proposals for turbines within sight of the park's observatory.

These include plans from energy companies such as E.ON and RWE npower renewables.

Mr Gibson said that while some planning applications had been rejected, there are fears that if even just one is approved, it could open the door for further development.

Ministry of Defence and Aviation Authority safety requirements mean that wind turbines must be illuminated by infra-red light and, in some areas used regularly for training or search and rescue, visible light illumination may also be required.

Turbines near the park could fall into the latter category, and would affect both the ability of astronomers to use sensitive equipment, and the current visibility of stars, galaxies, comets and northern lights.

Back to top