7. July 2021 Update - Alternative Abnormal Access Route Information Day

 

In order for the Pencloe Wind Farm to be built in a way that reduces the impact on residents in New Cumnock - particularly along the Afton Road - we are proposing to build a new access track to transport the abnormal loads for the wind farm including the turbine towers and blades.

 

We will be holding information events to give members of the public the opportunity to learn more about the proposed alternative access route and the proposed wind farm and to share their views:

 

Telephone Conference:

●     Wednesday 28 July - 5pm until 7pm

To join the Telephone Conference please dial: 03330 434 351 and enter pin: 7745 980

 

Information Day:

●     Thursday 29 July - 2pm until 7pm

To join the Information Day please visit us at the New Cumnock Working Men's Club, 103 Afton Bridgend, KA18 4JG

 

The Information Day will be a drop-in event open to everyone. However, in order for us to manage social distancing, we would kindly ask for members of the community to register their attendance by contacting us in advance.

 

If you have any questions, to let us know if you plan to attend, or for further information, please contact my colleague Eli Harji at eli.harji@invictapa.co.uk or call our Community Hotline on: 0141 212 7123

1. Introduction

Pencloe Wind Farm is a proposed development of 19 turbines and associated infrastructure resulting in a total generating capacity of 85.5 MW. The development has a low carbon footprint and is expected to become carbon neutral after only 18 months of operation. The site is located on Carsphairn Forest. which is 5 kilometres south of New Cumnock.

2. 2015 - 2018 Consenting History

Pencloe Wind Energy Limited (PWEL) lodged an application for s.36 consent with the Scottish Government on 26 February 2015 for 21 turbines with a maximum height of 125 m to blade tip, with an installed capacity of around 69.3 MW. This application was the culmination of over two years survey and environmental assessment work over and around the Pencloe site.

On 21 September 2015, PWEL revised the application by deleting two wind turbines; micrositing another turbine; increasing the size of four on-site borrow pits; proposing an additional borrow pit; and realigning the tracks and substation on site to avoid areas of deeper peat. This revised application was for 19 turbines with a capacity of around 62.7MW.

East Ayrshire Council objected to the application in October 2016, and because of this a Public Inquiry was held in 2017 with the inquiry sessions taking place within the New Cumnock Community Centre/Town Hall between 25 and 27 September and the final session held on 31 October 2017.

In December 2018 the Ministers issued their decision to grant s.36 consent for 19 turbines of up to 125 m to tip with a total capacity of 62.7 MW.

The below link will take you to the Energy Consents Website where the consented development documents can be viewed using the website search function. The consented development decision letter is also provided at Appendix 1 of the proposed development application letter.

 

http://www.energyconsents.scot/ApplicationDetails.aspx

The planning history of Pencloe Wind Farm is illustrated below.

3. June 2019 - The Variation Application

 

PWEL wanted to vary the Pencloe Wind Farm project to benefit from advances in turbine size and technology and hence increase the capacity and yield from that which could be achieved from the consented development.

The main design changes proposed were:

  • The tip height of the proposed turbines would increase from 125 m to up to 149.9 m;

  • The blade length will increase from around 50 m to up to 67 m; and

  • Turbines 6 and 15 were relocated (to previous locations T1 and T2 in the Original 21 Turbine Design).

 

Amendments were also made to the proposed track layout within the Application site, to accommodate the turbine changes as listed above.

The changes made to the consented development are summarised in the table below. For a layout of the proposed variation and the consented variation, see the 'Maps' page. 

pencloe1.PNG

4. March 2020 Further Environmental Information Submission

Consultation Responses to the Proposed Development

PWEL made a Further Environmental Information (FEI) submission to the Energy Consents Unit (ECU) of the Scottish Government on Wednesday 18th March.

Following receipt of the Variation Application (see 3. above) the ECU consulted with technical and non-technical consultees to gather opinion from stakeholders regarding the merits of the proposed development.  Some matters have been raised by consultees that requires FEI to address and this submission provided the Applicant’s response to those.

The FEI Submission

The FEI submission contains the following information:

  • An updated Planning Statement which reviews the latest Scottish Government climate change commitments, the climate emergency and summarises the consultation responses received and what has been done to address the points raised by consultees;

  • An updated Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment LVIA chapter addressing comments made by East Ayrshire Council and their landscape advisor, including replacement wirelines and new wirelines illustrating a microsited layout to minimise turbine stacking;

  • An updated Peat Slide Risk Assessment that meets the requirements of the latest Scottish Government guidance (2017). The assessment shows a low risk of peat slide over the site; and

  • Replacement tables setting out noise limits for noise sensitive receptors as it was identified that some tables in the noise assessment within the EIA Report contained errors.

The complete FEI submission is available under the documents tab of this website.

5. November 2020 - Proposed Amendment to the Variation Application 

 

In its consultation response of 18th August 2020 to the Energy Consents Unit (ECU), East Ayrshire Council (EAC) confirmed it has no objection to the Pencloe Wind Farm s36C Variation Application (June 2019) subject to an appropriate relocation of Turbine 1 (T1) and Turbine 2 (T2). The relocation is to mitigate for the adverse effects of overlapping/stacking when the wind farm is seen from viewpoints in and around New Cumnock to the north of the proposed wind farm site.

The Pencloe Wind Farm turbine layout has been reviewed from a landscape and visual perspective to determine whether relocating T 1 and 2 would beneficially alter the compositional appearance of the proposed development when seen from key viewpoints to the north.

The proposed amendment is for the relocation of T1 and T2 and associated track and hardstanding infrastructure; T1 moving approximately 71 m west and T2 approximately 96 m to the north east.

PWEL submitted an amendment to the Variation Application, covering the proposed relocation of turbines.  An Environmental Information report, including a review of viewpoints, was prepared to support the relocation of the two turbines.

The review of viewpoints concluded that by relocating turbines T1 and T2, there will be a reduction in overlapping/stacking and an improvement to the composition of the wind farm turbine array as seen in local views. In particular, there will be beneficial effects to those viewpoints which will be seen by a greater number of receptors from in and around New Cumnock.

A further review has demonstrated that there is no material change to previously reported environmental effects, for example in terms of effects on ecology or noise, as result of relocating T1 and T2.

The amendment documents are available for inspection on this website, and the Scottish Government Energy Consents Website at www.energyconsents.scot.         

6. May 2021 - Alternative Abnormal Load Access Option 

PWEL is proposing to construct an alternative access track for the delivery of abnormal loads, including blades, tower sections and nacelles, for the Pencloe Wind Farm. The proposed route is shown in the Alternative Abnormal Load Scoping Report (see the documents link in this website) and will run for up to 7.8 km to the west of the existing Afton Road through pasture and moorland on Laight and Ashmark farms, before entering the Pencloe Forest site owned by Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS).

 

The proposed access track is to be constructed in addition to the already consented abnormal load access route which followed the Afton Road all the way to Pencloe Farm.

The alternative option provides a straightforward route for turbine deliveries which will also reduce disturbance on the Afton Road both from the highways modifications required and from abnormal load movements to properties along the Afton Road south of Afton Cemetery.

It is the intention of PWEL to submit an application to East Ayrshire Council for planning permission under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

PWEL has appointed environmental consultants to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed development, the first stage of which is to undertake a scoping study and prepare the Scoping Report referenced above which supports a request to EAC to adopt a Scoping Opinion.

 

The request for a scoping opinion was submitted to EAC on the 11th May, and a scoping opinion was received from the Council on 15th June.

It is expected the planning application for the Abnormal Load Access Option will be submitted to East Ayrshire Council in August this year.

June 2019 -The Variation Application Process

PWEL made the variation application under Section 36c of the Electricity Act 1989 to seek the consent of the Scottish Ministers to construct and operate a wind-powered electricity generating station and also to gain their direction under section 57 (2) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

In terms of the proposed variation development, an EIA was undertaken and an EIA Report submitted in support of the proposed development. The likely significant effects of the proposed development, as set out in the EIA Report, are largely the same as the consented development.

The variation application was submitted to the Energy Consents Unit of the Scottish Government on Friday 21st June 2019, and a copy of the Application letter and the Advertisement template have been provided on this website along with the complete set of supporting documents. 

Following submission the Energy Consents Unit will consult with statutory consultees and other interested parties and will look to receive responses by the 14th August 2019. 

June 2019 - Benefits Proposed v Consented

The benefits of the proposed development when compared with the consented development are important considerations that should inform the decision of Scottish Ministers. As noted above, and within the EIA Report, no additional significant effects are identified for the proposed development as were predicted for the consented development. The main benefits of the proposed development are summarised below:

  • The increase in energy yield would be in the order of 48 % when compared to the predicted energy yield of the consented development;

  • The increase in generation capacity would be in the order of 22.8 MW, which is around 36 %, when compared to the capacity of the consented development;

  • The proposed development with a capacity of 85.5 MW would more fully utilise the grid capacity that is available ( a total of 96 MW is available) compared to the 62.7 MW capacity of the consented development;

  • The proposed development will require around 20 % less aggregate for construction compared to the consented development;

  • The area required to be excavated for proposed development infrastructure is around 18 % lower than that which would be required to implement the consented development; and

  • The carbon payback period of the proposed development will reduce by 0.5 years to 1.5 years when the proposed development is compared to the consented development.