Credit: By Patricia Lewis | 15 Nov 2013 | www.dailyrecord.co.uk
Potential objectors to Knockendurrick Wind Farm are being “picked off” by the firm behind the bid.
MSP Alex Fergusson has criticised Banks Renewables after 30 individuals were offered cash in return for their support.
The annual payments were suggested in a letter to households closest to the planned development.
Mr Fergusson said: “This is the first time I have come across this practice.
“It is picking off people one by one and does not offer a communal benefit. I sympathise with all those who do not think it’s appropriate.”
Mike Edwards of the community windfarm forum said: “Some people were shocked by it (the letters) but some of us weren’t because we know this is how Banks work.
“But it is up to the individuals if they want to accept these letters or not.
“We understand why they would want to but Banks are not great to deal with.”
In the letter obtained by the News, the company offers a Twynholm resident an “annual sum” of cash for the windfarm’s lifetime.
But in return the letter asks the resident to “accept and not to object to the level of windfarm noise emission level produced by the development”.
They are also told “not to object to nor support any objection to any application for planning permission made by or on behalf of Banks Renewables.”
Bank’s planning application – which has drawn more than 100 objections – is for permission to build seven turbines between Twynholm and Kirkcudbright.
Alison Chapman, from anti-windfarm group Galloway Landscape and Renewable Energy (GLARE), said: “I am shocked at this brazen attempt to buy support for a project which could impact in so many different ways on all the people living and working in the area.”
But Colin Anderson, development director at Banks Renewables, defended the company’s position.
He said: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring the development is designed, built and operated to the highest standards.
“And it is in this regard that we have met with a small number of householders who live in proximity to the site to directly explain our proposed development and as necessary to reach agreement on aspects of the development. Good practice generally dictates a requirement to deal directly with sensitive properties in regard to certain aspects of wind farm development.
“This is necessary so that any planning application provides for conditions to manage specific matters or caters for particular operational requirements. This process happens on most applications for new developments across the UK. We have acted entirely transparently and with due regard for the householders.”