WILDLIFE campaigners say they are "disappointed" by a council's decision to greenlight a new windfarm development near a protected wildlife site.
RSPB Scotland have warned that the 11-turbine green energy development at Glen App, north east of Cairnryan in Dumfries and Golloway, could have an adverse affect on hen harriers nesting nearby.
The wind farm being built by ScottishPower was given approval by South Ayrshire Council earlier this week.
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Chris Rollie, RSPB Scotland Area Conservation Manager, said: "We are concerned by the Council's decision to grant consent for this windfarm. We have made it clear from the outset that this is a sensitive site.
"Hen harrier populations across the UK are really under threat and protected sites such as this one should provide safe refuges for this species. We are particularly surprised and disappointed by SNH's decision to withdraw their objection.
"Although RSPB Scotland supports renewable energy developments to combat climate change, there are alternative, less potentially damaging sites elsewhere in Scotland'.
Glen App will be a further addition to ScottishPower Renewables' current windfarms in South Ayrshire, with Arecleoch and Mark Hill already in operation.
The project will be able to generate up to 33MW of green electricity, and ScottishPower Renewables aims to have the windfarm fully operational by 2017.
The company has promised to fund communities in the area in compensation with a fund of £5,000 per megawatt, per year.
John Alexander, Development Director at ScottishPower Renewables, said: "We are very pleased that South Ayrshire Council has decided to approve the Glen App project. We have been working on plans for Glen App since 2010, and through this period we have worked closely with a range of interested groups and consultees to design the best project possible.
"Our existing projects in South Ayrshire have made major financial contributions to local community projects, as well as providing a significant output of green electricity for the grid, and we look forward to Glen App playing an important role in the region as well."
ScottishPower initially submitted a planning application in 2012, and extensive consultations were undertaken with local communities and other stakeholders, including Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.
Jill Cronin, Head of Enterprise, Development and Leisure for South Ayrshire Council said: "We considered any objections, along with one from the RSPB, prior to any decision being taken.
"The applicant has been working closely with Scottish National Heritage, the responsible body appointed by the Scottish Government on these matters, to address concerns raised by the RSPB."