Residents of a small Clydesdale hamlet have told the Duke of Buccleuch, Richard Scott, he can keep the hundreds of thousands of pounds he is offering to spend on improvements if his estate company is allowed to build a huge wind farm on their doorstep.
Leadhills Community Council claims that the 300 inhabitants of the former mining village deep in the Lowther Valley would rather keep their stark but beautiful scenery than take the money.
The council is now asking residents to sign a petition calling for the Scottish Government to throw out the £200m scheme by local landowner Buccleuch Estates and project partner 2020 Renewables to erect 35 of what would be among the highest wind turbines in the nation.
The Gazette reported three weeks ago that the development partner had lodged a planning application with the Government, along with assurances that it would generate almost £750,000 in annual wind farm benefit payments to local communities, besides creating jobs in an area which has lost more than half its population since its lead mining industry died many decades ago.
It is claimed that the new wind farm would provide electricity for 78,000 homes and would help reach the Government’s target for renewable energy.
Added to this would be regular payments into a local development fund which would benefit by up to £18m over the wind farm’s 20-year lifetime.
However, according to the community council, a price-tag can’t be put on the village’s unique surroundings and local environment.
The official objection letter produced by the council says the development would “destroy the intimate character” of the area and, along with other recent wind farm proposals and actual developments in the vicinity, would “create an extensive landscape dominated by turbines”.
It further claims that local wildlife would suffer, especially rare breeds of bird.
The villagers have a month to submit their official objection and petition to the Scottish Government.
Local Conservative MP David Mundell has already pledged his support for the council’s opposition to the development, repeating his earler statement that, while he supports clean energy, when it comes to more wind farms in his constituency, “enough is enough”.