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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 11:03 GMT
Green light for offshore wind farm
Wind farm
The environmental impact is disputed
Planning permission has been granted to create Scotland's first offshore wind farm.

The Scottish Executive has given its approval for the development of the 200m project in the Solway Firth.

The wind farm will be sited at Robin Rigg, a sandbank midway between the Galloway and Cumbrian coasts.

But the plan has been opposed vigorously by many local people on environmental grounds.

Deputy Enterprise Minister Lewis Macdonald said the decision to give planning consent was not taken lightly.

Mr Macdonald said: "The conditions attached to this consent provide strict standards to safeguard our natural heritage during and beyond the life span of the power station.

Environmental benefits

"This proposal will provide clear environmental benefits as well as securing Scotland's position as a key player in the development of a renewables sector in Europe."

The wind farm will consist of 60 turbine towers - each 130 metres tall - and will be visible from both coastlines.

Developers Offshore Energy Resources Limited insist the environmental impact will be "minimal".

But protest groups are concerned that the farm will be sited in a designated area of national scenic importance.

A successful Robin Rigg project will have substantial benefits and will serve as the starting point for significantly greater development of all types of renewable energy
Alasdair Morgan, SNP MSP
Energy from the wind farm will enter the national grid in Cumbria, creating enough to power about 180,000 homes.

Alasdair Morgan, SNP MSP for Galloway & Upper Nithsdale, believes the move is the first step in transforming the area into a centre for research and development in clean energy.

"A successful Robin Rigg project will have substantial benefits and will serve as the starting point for significantly greater development of all types of renewable energy, not just renewable energy that comes from wind farms," he said.

"Going ahead with the Robin Rigg project will not mean covering every hill in Galloway and every inch of coastal water with turbines."

The project could also bring construction jobs and there is provisional interest in at least one turbine blade manufacturer setting up a factory in Galloway.




SEE ALSO:
Go-ahead for wind power scheme
29 Nov 02 |  Scotland
Fresh wind farm drive
22 Nov 02 |  Scotland
Wind farm visit blown out
10 Mar 03 |  Scotland


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