Moffat locals to debate new wind turbines at Scoop Hill and Rivox sites in meeting with developers

The combined proposals would see 89 new turbines and provide enough energy to power more than 600,000 homes. Credit: PA Images

A meeting to debate the proposals of two new wind farms near Moffat will take place tonight.

Belltown Power UK plans to establish an onshore wind farm to the west of the town while Community Windpower Ltd hopes to construct one of Scotland's largest wind power sites five kilometres to the south east.

Between the two sites, the construction would add 89 new turbines to the countryside surrounding the town.

A meeting at St Andrew's Church in Moffat will begin at 7pm to allow the developers to put forward their case to local people. Opponents of the proposals will also be given a chance to describe their grievances with the plans.

Mofffat and District Community Council will host the event and record local responses. This will then be presented to the Energy Consents Unit and Scottish ministers who will make the decision on whether to go ahead with the wind farm proposals.

Among concerns described by residents ahead of the meeting are the impact it is feared the turbines could have on the tourist economy. Nearly 40% of the jobs in Moffat rely on people visiting the area, many of whom do for its scenery and wildlife.

Moffat is both Scotland's first Eagle town and its first Dark Sky town. Some residents fear that nearly 90 new turbines will affect the aesthetics and biodiversity of the landscape.

The already existing Harestanes wind farm has 68 turbines and is located less than ten miles from Moffat.

In a statement, Belltown Power said: "We have carried out extensive public consultation over the last 18 months in Moffat and surrounding communities to shape the final proposal.

"More than half of local people who responded to our surveys supported the location of the project."

A spokesperson for Community Windpower Ltd said: Once operational it will power up to 450,000 homes annually. With a community benefit commitment, the wind farm will provide an annual total of £2.16 million to its host communities for its 40-year operational life.

"The scheme will make a crucial contribution to the Scottish Government's ambition of tackling climate change and will employ 250 people during construction."

In September the Scottish government committed to delivering 20 gigawatts of onshore wind power before 2030. A spokesperson said: "It is vital that local communities are fully engaged in, and derive lasting benefits from, any onshore wind development."

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