Thursday, 17 November 2011

Assel Valley wind farm # 4

Coriolis Energy (who are acting on behalf on Falck Renewables) are having a rethink about the proposed Assel Valley wind farm. A letter, from Coriolis to South Ayrshire Council requests an extension to the current planning cycle (to January 30, 2012) and talks about an intent to reduce the height of their turbines and make changes to the layout with a view to reducing the footprint of the development.

This letter raises a number of issues. The first is the waste of Council time in terms of the effort already put into working towards a determination on the basis of the original application. Once more, we see a developer quite happily squandering the resources of a cash strapped public body in a desperate bid to try and ensure a development is approved. The next issue surrounds cumulative impact. A number of planning applications are working their way through the planning system (both locally and centrally), whose Environmental Statements contain cumulative assessments based upon the original Assel Valley layout. How on Earth are South Ayrshire Council (or Central Consents) supposed to carry out effective cumulative assessments on these other applications when developers keep changing the layout of their proposals at the last minute? Finally, it is noted that the letter seems to discount representations from individuals. It states that in addition to possible layout changes, it will be submitting further information that will satisfy the only objector to this development, who is named as SEPA. Curious - I though quite a few other objections had been received - presumably, Coriolis don't consider any of them to be of merit. There are other issues, not least of all the difference in opinion as to whether a new planning application will be needed in light of these changes. When will these developers start treating the planning system with a reasonable degree of respect?