WORK on a controversial £35m wind farm on Inverclyde's hillside will start next week.

BayWa R.E. - the firm which took over original applicants 2020 Renewables - will start building eight 110-metre-tall turbines in the hills above Greenock and the Port on Monday.

This comes after completion of the first phase of the project in May.

Contractors I&H Brown will make windfarm tracks, turbine bases and the site substation adjacent to the existing Scottish Power substation at Devol Road.

Stuart Cameron, head of construction for BayWa R.E., said: “The team are delighted to have appointed I&H Brown to carry out the civil works for Inverclyde Wind Farm.

"They are an extremely experienced civils contractor who have successfully delivered a number of wind farm projects throughout Scotland.

"We have been engaging closely with Inverclyde Council roads, and will continue to do so throughout the construction period, to ensure minimum disruption to Inverclyde residents.

"In addition the team at BayWa will provide regular updates to local residents and the wider community throughout the construction period.”

The main civil works are expected to be completed by April 2020, with the turbines being erected in late spring/early summer and the full site completed by next September.

Once construction is finished, a public car park will be constructed to allow walkers to get around the wind farm tracks.

The tracks will also connect to Inverclyde’s existing core path network and enable access into Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park to the west of the development.

Th developers say their wind farm will produce 24 MW of 'clean, renewable energy which is enough to power around 44 per cent of Inverclyde households' and will prevent over 18,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

They added: "As Inverclyde’s only commercial scale wind farm it will significantly increase the area's current contribution to Scotland’s renewable energy targets."

But Councillor David Wilson, a fierce opponent of the project, says it has no place here and should be offshore instead.

He is demanding that the company fulfils its obligations towards protecting wildlife in the area.

Cllr Wilson, pictured at the Dougliehill site where works are starting, said: "There was 700 objections to this wind farm.

"It was refused by Inverclyde Council but subsequently this decision was overruled by the Scottish Government.

"The construction will cause chaos on the roads and of pressing concern are the nesting ospreys who are rearing three chicks.

"The nest is within close proximity to the wind farm and given this is a protected species with only 200 nesting pairs in the UK, I am very concerned about the effect these turbines could have on the ospreys.

"There is a condition in the the granting of the application that they must improve the habitat of birds outwith the turbine envelope.

"I will be asking Inverclyde Council officers to contact BayWa to make sure that no harm comes to the ospreys and that BayWa fulfil the conditions of their application."