We want to hear your views about the proposed solar farm

A planning application has been submitted by Comsol Energy Limited for the construction of a solar farm to the North East of Wee Minnemoer, just to the East of the the Glaid Stone and the Highest Point viewing area. Although the application is basically a repeat of the one submitted in 2016, North Ayrshire Council will treat it as a new submission.

The Community Council is consulting the island about this because it is our role to represent the community’s opinion in planning applications.

Why are we concerned?
While we support the move to a carbon neutral island and we are in favour of solar power, we have serious concerns about this particular application. We do not feel it would be in the right location for such a significant installation, and we feel it would have a negative impact on the island. There will be no economic benefit to the island and we feel an installation of this size should help those who live here.

What do we need from you?
Please give us just 5 minutes to read this summary and give us or North Ayrshire Council your views no later than 28 August.

What if I support this application?
Tell us. We are keen to have a genuinely representative view from the island community as well as those from other communities who would look onto the solar farm.

How do I respond?
We will distribute flyers through letterboxes with a response form on the back. Alternatively you can collect a flyer from Caldwells, Cumbrae Forum Shop, The Hub, The Library, The Premier, Webbs or any other participating shop and complete the back page with your comments. We won’t keep your details, we will count positive/negative responses and pass on your comments to the Planning Team at North Ayrshire Council.

Alternatively you can write a letter, or post your flyer comments to: Planning Services, North Ayrshire Council, Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE. Or you can email North Ayrshire Council at: eplanning@north-ayrshire.gov.uk (Quote Ref 22/00385/PP). Or you can go to the North Ayrshire Council website and submit a comment online.

More information on the application

  • The proposed site is within the Great Cumbrae Special Landscape Area and the Barbay Hill Local Nature Conservation Site. The site is by the Glaid Stone at the Highest Point of Cumbrae, a local beauty spot and viewing area. It will also be visible to Largs and Fairlie.
  • The 37.8 acre solar farm would take up 1.3% of Cumbrae’s land area. That is the same as 22 football pitches.
  • Each panel would be up to 3m high. There would be 19,000 panels.
  • The land faces east and south-east, with some facing north.
  • The ‘temporary’ solar farm would have the right to remain for 25 years. Its construction would take up to eight months.
  • The estimated 5MW that it would generate would go direct into the national grid with no benefit to the local community.
The application is for ‘detailed’ planning permission, but crucial information is missing which makes it impossible to fully understand the proposals

  • How would it be built? There are no elevations or sections through the solar farm itself showing the solar panel arrays and their supporting structure. This is a fundamental omission.
  • What would happen to the power? There is no detail as to how the power would get to the national grid. The options would be above ground pylons, or buried cables but what would this look like? What route would it take?
  • What studies have been done? How would rainfall run off from the panels affect the boggy moor? Would it cause run off down the hill to the road? The Environmental Report states hydrological and ecological surveys and assessments may be required, but gives no indication that these will be undertaken.
  • What impact would its construction have on the island? The proposed road ‘improvements’ and passing places which would need to be made to the Inner Circle are not detailed and are described as ‘potential’. Are these intended? They would be a significant change to the road. The application states construction would take up to eight months. This has the potential to cause disruption to ferry traffic.
Many other details are also missing

  • There is no information about the design of the 2m-high perimeter fence.
  • There are no details about the design of the CCTV poles or cameras - which way they would they be pointing? What would their range be?
  • There are no details about the size/design of the communications mast.
  • There are no details about the design of the power converting units.
  • There are no details about the design of BESS transformer units.
  • The colours, materials and sizes of the buildings associated with the solar farm are described as ‘indicative’, making it unclear whether these are the intended designs.

We will ask the planners to delay this application until these significant omissions have been rectified.

More information

17 August 2022