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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Massive wind farm gets approval
Hadyard Hill wind farm (Picture by Scottish and Southern Energy from the British Wind Energy Association)
Concerns were raised about the impact on the environment
Plans to build Europe's largest onshore wind farm on a vast stretch of moorland south of Glasgow have been approved by the Scottish Executive.

Scottish Power said its 300m Whitelee project should be completed by 2009.

With 140 turbines, it will generate 322 megawatts of electricity - enough to power nearly every house in Glasgow.

Consent was granted after consultation as the wind farm had raised several issues over its impact on weather and air traffic radars and the landscape.

The farm will be built on high ground south of East Kilbride.

Edinburgh is setting an example that London would do well to follow
Charlie Kronick

It will cover a huge area of moorland and forestry, on a site measuring 7.2 miles by 4.3 miles.

It will provide enough green energy to power 200,000 homes.

Deputy Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson said: "This is another huge step forward for clean, green renewable energy generation in Scotland.

"Whitelee is a significant milestone towards achieving our renewable energy and climate change targets."

He said the farm would save some 650,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Scottish Power Chief Executive Philip Bowman added: "This project is of national importance.

"We have always maintained that large wind farms, in appropriate locations, are vital to meeting the UK's ambitious renewable energy targets."

Marcus Rand, chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association, said: "Wind represents our best chance of delivering significant quantities of carbon free power."

'Making history'

Maf Smith, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: "This development alone will provide jobs and generate affordable clean green electricity on a scale hitherto unheard of in Scotland or indeed the UK and Europe."

He added: "The Scottish Executive is making a bit of history.

Something like this is going to radically alter the nature of the countryside in the area
Bill Wright
Director of Rural Scotland

"The central belt is doing its bit in the drive to make Scotland the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy."

There are currently 125 wind farms in the UK

A further 24 wind farms are under construction and 77 projects, including Whitelees, have planning consent.

Charlie Kronick, of Greenpeace, hailed the executive's move.

He said: "Edinburgh is setting an example that London would do well to follow."

Rural Scotland raised concerns about the scale of the wind farm and its impact on the area.

Director Bill Wright said: "These very large-scale industrial schemes do have a very serious impact on the countryside in terms of their visibility.

"We as an organisation are not opposed to wind farm developments but we are against development on this scale.

"Something like this is going to radically alter the nature of the countryside in the area."

Construction at the site will start this summer, with the first turbines becoming operational in 2008.

Facilities will include a visitor centre and cycle and walking routes.

See the site for the new wind farm

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