Biomass and Solar at Ayrshire Renewables Day

Planning issues hold up wind development at Feoch

One Ayrshire farmer has embraced renewables technology but issues around planning have held back wind energy from being part of the mix.

At Feoch Farm near Darvel - a 900 acre family farm run by Jimmy Ireland with his wife, brother and sons – a biomass boiler and solar panel array have already been installed and farmers are invited to view the technology next week when the Ireland family host an open day on Wednesday, 1 July.

Of equal interest to many farmers may be the difficulties the Jimmy has encountered in his attempts to get planning permission for a wind turbine to supplement the farm’s renewables mix.

At next week’s event, staged by NFU Scotland’s Renewable Development Initiative (RDI) visitors will see the 100kW biomass boiler and a 3.6kW solar PV array.  Jimmy is currently looking to install a second biomass boiler and a drying floor.   As our only event in Ayrshire, this is very much a one-stop-shop for anyone looking at progressing a renewable energy project.

The Union’s three-year RDI project is designed to provide sound, independent advice to farmers and land managers across Scotland on renewable energy.   Through a programme of on-farm events, co-ordinated by Thomas McMillan of Savills Smiths Gore, the initiative has already shown hundreds of Scottish farmers and land managers energy projects that are contributing to farm businesses or are at the planning stage.  The visit to Feoch farm will be the main RDI event in Ayrshire this summer.

Host farmer Jimmy Ireland said: “Investment in renewables is making a clear difference to our farm business.

“Being able to generate heat without resorting to kerosene has made a vast difference to what we can do in the winter. The current biomass boiler supplies heat to the farm house, an agricultural building and workshop.  A second 100kW biomass boiler is planned to serve a new drying floor and is currently in the ‘concept’ stage.

“Building and designing our own hoppers for the chips and doing our own groundworks helped keep costs under control.

“We would love wind energy to be part of the renewable mix at Feoch but the timeline for progressing the wind turbine through planning has been a car crash.  I am happy to share that story with fellow farmers.”

Thomas McMillan added: “As our only event in Ayrshire, it is fantastic that Feoch is very much a one-stop-shop for anyone looking at progressing a renewable energy project.  Attendance would be of great value to anyone considering such investment.”

Notes to Editors

  • Jimmy Ireland runs Feoch Farm with his brother, wife and sons.  It consists of 900 acres of ground, 50 acre acres of which is used to produce cereals and the remainder used for grazing and silage production for a herd of 160 suckler cows and  300 ewes.  They also operate a contracting business, providing ploughs, seed, slurry and spraying services to neighbouring farms.
  • A photograph of Jimmy Ireland is available on request from
  • RDI events are FREE to farmers and land managers to attend. If you would like to book a space or join the mailing list, please email  or telephone: 0131 344 0888.  
  • More details on our Renewables Development Initiative at:


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 122/15

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