There is only one private water supply which could potentially be affected by controversial plans for a £175 million Highland Perthshire windfarm ““ but a series of stringent mitigation measures are planned to prevent any adverse impacts, the public inquiry was told.
Dr Sheila M. Ross, an associate director of AMEC Earth and Environmental, a private environmental consultancy company, was giving evidence of behalf of GreenPower.
They want the go-ahead to erect a total of 68 turbines, some with an upper blade tip height of 124 metres, at Griffin Forest, two miles north-west of Dunkeld.
I&H Brown also want the green light for 27 turbines at Calliacher, three miles south of Aberfeldy.
Both planning bids were thrown out at a special meeting of Perth and Kinross Council’s development control committee last year, triggering the inquiry.
It is being chaired by Scottish Executive Reporter David Russell and is being held in Amulree Public Hall.
Dr Ross explained that a report on private water supplies, carried out last September, identified 62 properties, within 3.5 kilometres of the Griffin Forest wind farm boundary, supplied by a private water source.
That report showed, however, there is just one private supply source ““ at Scotstoun ““ lying approximately 350 metres from the nearest wind farm structure and which could potentially be affected.
“The next nearest springs used as a private supply lie uphill from Tomnagairn, 1.95 kilometres away from the nearest wind farm structure, and Meikle Tombane, approximately 2.06 kilometres away.
“All other private water supplies are located greater than 2.4 kilometres away from any wind turbine.”
The spring water source at Scotstoun would be close to where a substation would be built.
“The works associated with the substation and grid connection are of short duration, of the order of several months, and will not affect the whole of the construction period.
“Accordingly, a number of specific mitigation measures have been proposed for this water supply.”
They will be agreed in advance with the householder, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Perth and Kinross Council.
They will include:
Regular contact with the householder throughout works at this location;
Regular monitoring of the water supply, before, during and after the construction works in this part of the site;
The provision of an emergency telephone number for the householder so that he can contact the project if he has any concerns regarding water quality or quantity;
The provision of an alternative water supply.
Dr Ross added: “The overall conclusion of my precognition is that, due to careful and iterative design of the wind farm lay-out and the use of well-proven engineering techniques, environmentally sound working methods co-ordinated with a strictly operated Environmental Management Plan, the construction, operation and decommissioning of the proposed Griffin Wind Farm will not have any unacceptable effects, assuming that all proposed mitigation takes place, on the hydrogeology, hydrology, fisheries and peat mires within and around the site, as well as negligible effects on private water supplies outside the site.”
The inquiry continues.
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