Turbines 'will bring windfall'
AMBITIOUS wind farm developers with their eye on a site near Bonhill reckon it could bring a £35million windfall for Dumbarton and Vale.
Lomond Energy chief Steve Macken (pictured) believes the firm's 10-turbine energy site will kickstart the area's beleaguered economy and jobs market if it gets the green light.
The Gartocharn-based firm has already submitted a formal application to council planners for the project at Merkins Farm, with the local authority currently consulting affected residents.
And Lomond Energy is keen to get communities on board, so residents can reap the rewards of the proposed development.
Macken told the Reporter: "This is an incredible local project.
"We are keen for communities to get involved and we are always committed to supporting local community projects.
"We are keen to spread the benefit to communities around the wind farm to communities like Gartocharn, Balloch and Haldane and the Vale of Leven.
"Merkins Windfarm is very much a local West Dunbartonshire project and represents a significant inward investment of £35m into the area.
"Communities can benefit through part ownership of the project or significant community funds. We want to reach out to other communities local to the project to invite them to get involved.
"We also encourage education and employment into the sector as we do elsewhere, and find wind farms provide local inspiration and jobs in their long term operational support.
"There has also been significant local support in West Dunbartonshire's National Park communities as evidenced by the Gartocharn poll last year and the letter from Balloch and Haldane Community Council in support of the project.
"Wind energy works, its support costs the consumer less than a fiver a year, and will help reduce our dependence on polluting and imported fossil fuels and thus our exposure to volatile markets which have led to recent price rises in consumer energy bills."
Last month the Reporter told how Kilmaronock Community Council had voted against the plans during a meeting in Gartocharn despite a previous poll coming out in favour of the move.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland have also lodged an objection with WDC against the proposals.
Opponents of the wind farm site fear any development could have a devastating impact on tourism - which many see as a mainstay of the area.
Sally Page, of Stop Loch Lomond Wind Farms, said: "If it went ahead this wind farm would be seen for miles around. Our main industry is tourism and people come to Scotland because of our scenery and not the weather.
"If we have something special we shouldn't spoil it."
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 10 Apr 12
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