South Scotland

West Freugh kite power firm seeks bird condition change

Hen harrier Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An ornithologist would be on site during the extension period to monitor for early arrivals

A kite energy company hopes to extend the period it is allowed to carry out test flying on part of a Scottish military range.

Kite Power Systems got approval last year for research and development at West Freugh near Stranraer.

However, it was limited to between mid-April and mid-September to protect hen harriers and white-fronted geese.

The firm has tabled a bid to have that extended by a month saying it would have no likely significant effect.

The project has secured more financial backing since it received planning permission last summer.

Image copyright Kite Power Systems
Image caption The company can test its kite power technology until mid-September at present

It recently received a £2m equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank and now has more than 25 staff between its management base in Glasgow and the test site in Dumfries and Galloway.

It said a report on birds in the area had concluded that the species concerned were not present at West Freugh until mid-October.

However, the company added that it would commit to having an experienced ornithologist on site during flights between 16 September and 15 October.

It said the expert would have the authority to stop testing should the birds arrive early.

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