A STORY in last week’s Gazette has sparked fears that there is to be a second Battle of Cartland Muir.
Throughout 2011 a campaign was fought by local residents to prevent the first windfarm being built in the countryside between Lanark and Carluke, two 400 foot high wind turbines at Cartland Muir.
The campaigners seemed to have won the day when, in December 2011, South Lanarkshire Council refused Energy4All’s planning application for the development.
However, questions were raised this week over whether or not that victory was a final one.
Last week the Gazette reported on ScottishPower’s plan to run cabling from the Blacklaw Windfarm near Climpy down to a connecting station to the National Grid at Kirkfieldbank.
That cabling will run close to where the Cartland Muir turbines would have stood and this has led to fears that villagers in Cartland and Kilncadzow might soon have to blow the dust off their protest placards and posters and fight their battle all over again.
Among those who have expressed their fears of a second turbine battle in the area is Clydesdale North councillor Ed Archer.
He told the Gazette this week: “It is worrying that ScottishPower are taking this line from Blacklaw all the way down, via Cartland, to Kirkfieldbank when they could have taken it a far shorter distance to a connecting station at Wishaw.
“I’m told the difference in distance is great; five kilometres to Wishaw, fourteen and a half to Kirkfieldbank. You have to ask why they are using that route?
“You can’t help but notice that it goes close to where the Cartland Muir windfarm was going to be. Even if there is no solid plan to revive the original windfarm proposal yet, the line going through that section of countryside could only act as an incentive for wind turbine development along it in future.”
He said that he was so worried about the possibilities of a revival of the controversial scheme, he had written to Clydesdale’s MSP Aileen Campbell to alert her to his fears.
A spokesman for the local pressure group which beat off the original proposal, the STOP Clyde Valley Windfarm Group, said that they had not heard any proposals for a `rebirth’ of the scheme over a year after their victory but were on the alert should any such plan surface.
“You can be sure that, if it comes back, then we’ll fight it all the way again, just like we did last time.”
The Gazette asked Energy4All if it would be trying again to develop Cartland Muir.
Its spokesman Paul Phare said: “Not by us but another less community friendly developer may decide to have a crack at it.“
Personally, he thought any future attempt would also be repelled.
ScottishPower has been emphatic that its choice of the Kirkfieldbank link to the Blacklaw Windfarm was purely because of its own technical needs and financial considerations, claiming its Wishaw station would not have sufficient capacity.