MSP Katie Clark has urged North Ayrshire Council to reject plans for a 'ruinous' solar farm on Cumbrae.

The Scottish Labour MSP for the west of Scotland believes the proposed site, which would cover over one per cent of the island, does not meet the needs of residents living there.

The plans have been put forward several times over the past decade, with the latest application currently under consideration by council officials.

Campaigners held a public protest at the proposed site last month, with over 100 residents turning out to show their anger.

In a formal objection, the MSP has raised concern at the lack of consultation, the lack of an environmental impact assessment and the impact on tourism she believes that it will have.

She said: “From the outset, islanders have been clear they are not opposed to renewable energy generation on Cumbrae. What they are opposed to do is the complete failure to engage with islanders on this project or listen to concerns.

“The site proposed is completely unsuitable. It falls within a conservation area and will ruin a beauty spot which attracts thousands of tourists every year.

“Residents are concerned that the proposed location of the site will affect the community’s ability to enjoy public spaces like the core path and negatively impact on tourism to the island.”

Katy also noted the proposal pre-empts the Carbon Neutral Islands project, which will see islanders consulted on future options for renewable energy on Cumbrae.

She explained: “I understand that residents have been denied information about survey work which the applicant claimed to have undertaken before selecting this specific site.

“Residents are not opposed to renewable generation on the island, provided they are engaged with and consulted on about any prospective projects which has clearly not happened in this case.

“Residents also believe that this proposal is fundamentally at odds with the national carbon neutral islands being pursued by the Scottish Government.”

The MSP says the council must reject or pause the application until a proper assessment of its impact on the island can be carried out.

She added: “Given the sensitive location of the proposed site, residents are surprised at North Ayrshire Council’s decision to waive the need for an environmental impact assessment.

“It is concerning the council seem to be waving through this proposal.

“We need to move to renewable energy, but this does not mean that every proposal should be agreed to.

“The council need to listen very closely to the message being sent by the island."

Comsol Energy, the firm behind the application, claims the solar farm would be beneficial for the island and could reduce energy bills in the future.