Massive windfarm could hit dark skies

Published: 27 Sep 2013 16:59

THERE are fears a top Ayrshire visitor attraction could be under threat from a huge wind farm application near Dalmellington.

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The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is composing a response to the South Kyle wind farm consultation voicing concerns about light pollution, which could spoil precious star views.

Energy firm Vattenfall plans to erect 50 wind turbines spanning nearly 150 metres if the Scottish Government approves the wind farm.

Observatory manager Robert Ince said: "My position is the observatory is only concerned about light pollution. Additional light pollution from any development will affect the observatory.

"We are concerned about light pollution from contractors working on the site, and will request that lights will face downwards.

"We are an internationally important facility - and are the only public access observatory in a gold dark sky credited park in the world. It is important we don’t have anything that makes this facilitiy less likely to attract visitors."

All tall structures spanning 150 metres or above must have warning lights mounted to make sure aircraft don’t hit them. But the South Kyle wind farm turbines are set to span 149.5 metres to blade tip - just 50 cm under Civil Aviation Authority guidelines.

But the turbines may feature infra-red lights, which will be visible to low-flyiing miltary aircraft pilots wearing night goggles.

Dalmellington Community Council is opposed to the £190m wind farm plan, which has now be submitted to the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Dark Sky observatory has claimed a top rating on TripAdvisor as Ayrshire’s number one attraction.

It’s location within the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park on the southern edge of the Craigengillan Estate near Dalmellington means it has ideal views for stargazers.

And members of the public can peek through the observatory’s top quality telescopes - giving rare views of planets and the stars.

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