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National Wind Power (NWP) has received approval from local planners for two of its wind farms in Scotland. The first, for 40 wind turbines at Windy Standard near Carsphairn, Dumfries and Galloway, was unanimously passed by the regional council. The site, which NWP is developing with Norwegian shipping company Fred Olsen Ltd, has two Scottish Renewables Obligation (SRO) contracts guaranteeing a premium price for its output.

According to Adrian Lloyd from NWP, the scheme commanded overwhelming support from the local community. He believes the company's thorough consultation and information process helped win over local people to the project. The community council came out firmly behind it. "We have had a number of public meetings and discussions, so the community council were well informed and well in favour," he says. He is particularly proud of the environmental assessment carried out in support of the application. This received an honourable mention by the director of planning at the meeting to decide the fate of the wind farm. She commended the quality of the information it contained. "I think it is a total vindication of the environmental assessment approach," says Lloyd referring to the Department of the Environment's recommendation that all UK wind farm applications should be accompanied by such an assessment.

Further north on the Novar Estate, near Dingwall, Highland Regional Council approved a 17 MW wind farm. Thirty-four 500 kW machines are to be built on two hills -- Meall an Tuirc and Bendealt. This project also has two SRO contracts.

At all of its wind farm sites, NWP has adopted a policy of creating community funds. The size of the fund for its Novar Estate project is one of the outstanding issues still to be worked out with the local community.

One further planning hurdle still lies ahead for both schemes. They have to be approved by the Secretary of State for Scotland.

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