Loch Urr's wildlife under threat


Red squirrels, otters, whooper swans, red kites, barn owls, hen harriers, goosanders, peregrine, and brown long-eared bats are just some of the species that make their home on or around Loch Urr. Over 800 pairs of black-headed gulls nest on rough island and red listed species of conservation concern include, tree pipit, grasshopper warbler, lesser redpoll, song thrush, crossbill and spotted flycatcher.

Resident brown trout and migratory salmon both spawn at Loch Urr and if you are near Loch Urr in the spring you are likely to hear your first cuckoo of the summer as several pairs nest there.

So how will the proposed wind farm impact them? Likely impacts include;

  • Collision risk with the rotating blades of the turbines (birds and bats)
  • Disruption of flight lines due to barrier effect of turbines (birds and bats)
  • Loss of habitat (mammals, birds, bats, fish)
  • Degradation of habitat (mammals, birds, bats, fish)
  • Displacement and disturbance (mammals, birds, bats, fish)

Over a million people in this country support the RSPB because they care about protecting wildlife and thousands of people belong to the Scottish National Trust and the Scottish Wildlife Trust - again because they care about protecting nature.

So why is it that the Scottish Government and the wind development companies are being allowed to even consider destroying a site that provides a haven for so many species of conservation concern? 

Cumulative Negative Impact of proposed wind turbines

As of January 2014 there are over 1,000 wind turbines (all over 100 metres) being proposed within a 17 mile radius of Loch Urr. Closest to Loch Urr, are Collieston Hill (up to 18 turbines proposed), Mochrum Fell (11 turbines proposed), Benshinnie Parton (24 turbines proposed), Marnhoul, Corsock (upto 16 turbines proposed), Stroanshalioch, Moniaive (up to 16 turbines proposed), Shepherds' Rig (upto 45 turbines proposed).

We strongly believe that the cumulative effect of these wind farms will have a severe impact on the environment, landscape, tourism and amenity value of the region, the health and wellbeing of local communities, as well as harming the wildlife and historic heritage of Loch Urr and its surroundings. For more detailed background on what is at risk at Loch Urr read on....


Loch Urr a magical landscape

Loch Urr - a beginning

To Corsock and the small hill road that crosses the moors to Moniaive. Thick and rich the verges, with foxgloves, meadowsweet and valerian. By Knocklearn with its old byres and turning over Glaisters Bridge, crossing the Urr Water. Following a quiet road between forestry and the moor of Craigenputtock, winding down into natural woodland at the foot of Castramon Hill. From here, a road climbs to the left, over moorland down to Loch Urr.

Meadowseet, hogweed and stone walls rise up the side of Sundaywell Moor. Orchids and asphodel in the wet rushes. Ling and cross leaved heath by the burn. Harebells and ferns.

Burnt mounds and cairns on Bogrie Hill. Settlements. Shillingland Moor where the waters drain down into Loch Urr, becoming Lochurr Land on the way. Wheatear chittering along the walls. Boulder walls. Sheep. Farms at Shillingland, Craigenvey and Loch Urr.

Winding down, Fell Hill skylines above Loch Urr. The bulk of Cairnsmore of Carsphairn distantly beyond. A picnic on the edge of Loch Urr. The waters rippling. Goose feathers and a sheep's skull. Remote, quiet, ancient land.

The above notes were made by Malcolm Stuart Davies on 23rd July 2011 in preparation for a collaborative project between four artists who live by the River Urr. The project 'Source to Sea' will include the work of Jennie Ashmore, Julian Francis, Malcolm Davies and Suzanne Stuart Davies, all professional artists. The exhibition will be shown at Gracefields Arts Centre, Dumfries during 2013.

Communities likely to be impacted - too close for comfort!















The villages of Moniave (1.8 miles) Corsock (2.7 miles), Dunscore (4.3 miles), New Galloway (6.8 miles) and Balmaclellan (7 miles) are all less than ten miles from the proposed wind farm at Loch Urr.

As E.ON itself admits in its environmental scoping report, there are already a large number of other wind farm projects within Dumfries and Galloway, resulting in a cumulative effect.  

What their report does not state, is that there are over 120 turbines (greater than 300 feet) either in operation, planning or scoping (as of June 2012) within a 10 mile radius of Loch Urr.

The proposed access route for the heavy equipment and wind turbines themselves is through Patna, Dalmellington, Carsphairn and St John's Town of Dalry.

Not just wind turbines

The site infrastructure needed to support 26 415 feet wind turbines is vast. A large number of access tracks will need to be built off the main road, borrow pits will need to provide the materials for the these and for the vast concrete bases for the cranes and the turbines. An electric sub station will need to be built and huge electric cables will need to be laid between the wind turbines and for the connection to the national electric grid.

It is difficult to imagine Loch Urr and the surrounding countryside being turned into an industrial landscape on such a scale!

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