Newton Mearns windfarm plan appeal thrown out for third time

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A Scottish Government-appointed reporter has kicked out an appeal to create a new windfarm in Newton Mearns.

Moorhouse Windfarm Ltd had an application for six turbines, between Shieldhill Farm and Moor Road, rejected for the third time after aviation chiefs claimed they could lose track of planes over the site.

East Renfrewshire Council knocked back the plans in March this year when the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) claimed a windfarm could interfere with their radars in Glasgow and Cumbernauld.

And the local authority’s planning appeals committee then rejected an appeal in August after Provost Jim Fletcher described the potential impact on NATS’ systems as “worrying”.

The owners of Moorhouse Windfarm Ltd hoped to persuade the Scottish Government reporter by offering to install a radar mitigation scheme to avoid planes getting lost.

But reporter Robert Maslin said: “I find that the proposed development would have adverse effects on aviation safety.

“There is no material consideration which would justify granting planning permission.”

Mr Maslin admitted that implementing a radar mitigation scheme could overcome the adverse effects on aviation safety. He also said that if the turbines were installed, they would adversely affect the view of the landscape.

East Renfrewshire’s planning committee welcomed the decision, with Provost Jim Fletcher describing it as “refreshing”.

He said: “We get so angry at time when reporters overturn the decisions of elected members, so this is very welcome.”

Stewart Miller claimed the decision justified the original decision made by the planning committee in March.

Planning committee chairwoman Annette Ireland added: “I’m pleased to see the reporter upholding the decision because overturned decisions have annoyed all of us in the past.”

The application for the windfarm has been in the pipeline for more than three years, with a series of delays preventing the planning committee from making a decision until March.

And before that decision was made, Coriolos Energy, acting on behalf of Moorhouse Windfarm, asked for a delay until an aviation impact report was completed.

Fourteen consultation responses were received asking for councillors to reject the plans, with East Ayrshire Council saying that residents near the Whitelee, and proposed Glenouther and Blair sites would become “encircled by windfarms”.

In 2014, a proposal for 19 turbines on the site was rejected by the council and then dismissed by Scottish ministers.