ARDROSSAN'S wind farm could be here to stay - until at least the 2040s.

The first step has now been taken on the way to increasing the lifespan of the wind farm on Busbie Muir - after a planning application was lodged with North Ayrshire Council.

The application requested an Environmental Impact Assesment (EIA) screening opinion on the site in relation to extending the operational life of the wind farm.

The screening would then be used ahead of a further application which would officially propose the extension of the lifespan of the windmills.

At present, 12 of the 15 turbines in Ardrossan have got permission to be operational until 2031 after they commenced commercial operations back in 2004.

A further three, which were erected in 2009, currently have permission to be operational until 2035.

The further application to proceed this screening request would look to increase the lifespan of all 15 turbines by up to ten years - until a latest year of 2041 and 2045 respectively.

The current application looks to discuss why Ventient - which operates the site - is looking to take this course of action.

Document say: "Technical assessment across many of Ventient’s sites has demonstrated wind farms can continue to operate safely and efficiently beyond their originally anticipated lifespan.

"Extending the operational period of Ardrossan Wind Farm by up to ten years will enable the continued generation of electricity from a renewable source, thereby contributing further to the attainment of the UK and Scottish Government policies of encouraging renewable energy developments."

It was also added that the turbines could produce enough energy to power approximately 23,846 homes every year it continues to be operational.

Documents continue: "The wind farm contributes to efforts to overcome the energy crisis due to the increased price of non-renewable resources which affects millions of people’s energy bills across the UK.

"The continued operation of Ardrossan Wind Farm supports a number of technicians and contributes to the local economies within which the wind farm operates by using local firms where possible and through use of local accommodation and services."

The local area would enjoy further benefits as a package would be in place throughout the extra operational years for a "community benefit fund" to be available.

The fund has helped provide support for a number of community projects over the years.

Meanwhile, the applicants also look to address concerns which may be raised regarding the operation of aging turbines.

They say that there is "no reason why noise levels will increase" and that the turbines now have "an enhanced fire detection process" in place.

Concerns over fires were raised after a turbine went up in smoke back in July 2022.

READ MORE: Investigation under way into turbine fire at Ardrossan Wind Farm

The application for a screening opinion is currently pending consideration - and can be viewed in full via the council's online planning portal searching for reference 23/00621/EIA.

It is anticipated that the final application to increase the lifespan of the Ardrossan Wind Farm will then be submitted by the end of September.