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Mull of Galloway concerns as seabed is opened for possible wind farm development

The Mull is a famous viewpoint

SCOTLAND'S seabed is being opened up for new wind farm projects for the first time in a decade but there is controversy as one of the potential sites is close to the Mull of Galloway. At the turn of the year, Marine Scotland issued a list of possible locations for offshore wind farms and began consulting with nearby communities. A sector of the sea south of the Mull of Galloway and off Luce Bay was controversial as the Mull is famous for views that take in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and even Cumbria. Community councils, including Kirkmaiden, took part in the consultation process which included information evenings in Stranraer and Newton Stewart. Concerns were raised that a wind farm off the Mull would affect views, could interfere with shipping lanes, bird migration routes and commercial fishing. However the opening of the seabed announced today does not mean the Mull/Luce Bay project will definitely go ahead. No decisions of where the wind farms will go has yet been made. Crown Estate Scotland, which manages the seabed, says the change could lead to billions being invested as part of a green recovery. It says ScotWind could deliver more than enough green electricity to power every Scottish household. A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the move would help create new green jobs. The investment value from the leasing the seabed to wind-energy firms round has been put at about £8bn. Proponents say that more than six million tonnes of CO2 saving could be made annually once the wind farms are operational. John Robertson, Crown Estate Scotland's head of energy and infrastructure, said: "Today is a huge step forward in kick-starting Scotland's green recovery, meeting net zero targets and bringing multi-billion pound investments to benefit communities across the nation. "Offshore wind is currently one of the cheapest forms of new electricity generation and Scotland is perfectly poised to host major new projects, with a well-established energy skills sector as well as some of the best natural marine resources in Europe." The bidding process begins on Wednesday and is expected to be completed by March 2021. It is though that 10sites will eventually be chosen for new wind farm developments, mainly around the east and northern coasts of Scotland. Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: "As we emerge from the crisis, we have a chance to re-imagine the Scotland around us, and to begin building a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy, one in which wellbeing, fair work and social justice are prioritised. "Our seas are host to some of the best offshore wind resources in the world, supporting the continuing growth and expansion of the sector. "We want to harness this huge resource for our energy system, unlocking significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector and, importantly, to do so in a way that gives due regard to our marine environment and other marine activities."

<< back Published: 10 Jun 2020, 11:02

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