Controversial 30MW Angus solar farm plan refused

The proposed site was near Cotton of Lownie, just outside Kingsmuir.The proposed site was near Cotton of Lownie, just outside Kingsmuir.
The proposed site was near Cotton of Lownie, just outside Kingsmuir. | Google Maps
An application for a 30MW solar farm in Angus which attracted hundreds of objections has been refused by councillors.

Under the plan, the solar farm would have occupied around 50 hectares of land at Cotton of Lownie, near Forfar, and would also feature a 6MW battery storage plant.

But the idea was controversial and locals have been fighting against it for the past two years.

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It was subsequently refused by councillors on the development standards committee on Tuesday.

Over 200 letters of objection were submitted against the proposals, with the loss of prime quality agricultural land and unacceptable landscape and visual impacts just some of the issues raised.

Speaking at Tuesday’s committee meeting, Pam Hamilton – one of the leading campaigners against the Lownie solar plan – said that whilst she is not opposed to renewable energy, solar farms “must be sited appropriately”.

The meeting also heard from a representative for the applicant – who argued the bid would result in “clear benefits” for the environment.

He said: “We are not monsters.

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“We have tried hard to work with the council and have listened to the community.

“We understand there is always going to be objections but we’ve done what we can to make this an acceptable proposal.”

The committee, however, were unmoved by the pleas and refused the application.

SNP councillor Lloyd Melville said: “I’m entirely unconvinced about its community benefit.

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“Achieving a just transition (to net zero) means we need to take communities with us and we need to ensure that meeting the challenge of climate change actually benefits local communities.

“And to my mind, that’s not the case here.”

SNP councillor Chris Beattie added: “This committee is fully aware of the climate emergency and we’ve approved numerous renewable energy generators and battery storage facilities across Angus.

“This development doesn’t meet the criteria of the right development in the right place and therefore I’m content to follow the officer’s recommendations and refuse the application.”

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