Plans for a nine-turbine wind farm between Patna and Dalmellington are set to move one step closer to approval.

Renewable Energy Systems (RES) has submitted a planning application to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit for their Sclenteuch Wind Farm, located 3km southwest of Patna.

And the project has cleared a significant hurdle after East Ayrshire Council officials recommended that the authority should not raise any objections to the plans.

According to the Sclenteuch Wind Farm website, the project could deliver around £9.6 million of inward investment in Ayrshire, in the form of jobs, employment and the use of local services. 

In addition, RES says that more than £29 million in business rates will be paid to the South and East Ayrshire Councils to fund vital local services within the community.

Ayr Advertiser: East Ayrshire Council has offered no objections.East Ayrshire Council has offered no objections. (Image: NQ Archive)

Plans for the wind farm, on a site covering parts of both the East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire council areas, were officially submitted back on August 2022.

If approved, Sclenteuch could be capable of generating up to 54MW of clean, low-cost electricity to meet the annual demand of around 50,000 homes.

The company has asked the Scottish Government for permission to build up to nine wind turbines at the site, with maximum heights from the ground to the blade tip of between 180 and 200 metres.

The wind farm is proposed to have an operational life of 50 years.

Because the generating capacity of the proposed operation is more than 50 megawatts, the power to grant permission lies with the Scottish Government, with East Ayrshire Council only acting as a consultee.

But council officials have recommended that no objection should be raised.

A decision will be finalised when planning committee meets on Friday, March 22.

A report prepared ahead of the planning committee states that a previous application for roughly the same site, known then as Keirs Hill, was submitted to the Scottish Government in November 2013, with the council formally objecting to the proposal.

A public local inquiry in September and October 2015 recommended refusal of those plans, for 17 turbines, "with the 149.9m height of the turbines proposed being noted as having a very serious visual impact due to the turbines being out of scale with the landscape".

The Keirs Hill application was refused in November 2016, with RES stating that the new application "seeks to address the need to tackle climate change whilst also addressing the key concerns raised following the public local inquiry for the Keirs Hill wind farm".

In addition to the 54MW which would be generated by the proposed nine turbines at Sclenteuch, a further 45MW would be generated through a proposed battery energy storage system forming part of the overall development.

Four of the proposed Sclenteuch turbines will have a maximum blade tip height of 180 metres, with the remaining five being 200 metres tall.

If approved, it's expected the turbines will take around 14 months to build, with components delivered from overseas via the King George V docks in Glasgow, for the turbine blades, and the Port of Ayr for other components, before being transported to the site via the A77 and the A713.

According to the report prepared ahead of the March 22 planning committee, a total of 362 public representations have been made to the government - 320 in favour and 42 against.

The 320 expressions of support includes the 9CC group, which represents nine community councils across the southern part of East Ayrshire, though the report says the letters of support "are almost entirely in the form of a standard letter with the same general reasons".

Concerns raised by objectors included the impact on the landscape, the potential of light flicker and sky glow, damage to residential visual amenity, and the risk of peatland damage and pollution events on watercourses.