Campaigners who fought to stop a controversial £25million windfarm on the border of Sutherland and Ross-shire were yesterday shocked to learn of plans to extend the development.
Danish company RockBySea and Midfearn Renewables have applied for planning permission for two 325ft turbines alongside the existing 17-turbine windfarm at Beinn Tharsuinn, which is off the B9176 Struie road, at Aultnamain, near Edderton, in Easter Ross.
An action group, called Sutherland Team for a Renewable Energy policy with Understanding on the Interests of our Environment (Struie), set up to fight the original development by ScottishPower, failed to prevent it going ahead.
However, following objections by Struie, the number of turbines was reduced from 27 to 17 and some were repositioned.
And the group was yesterday disappointed to hear that two more turbines were now proposed.
Chairman Michael Baird, of Bonar Bridge, said: “We were told quite definitely by ScottishPower that there would not be any more turbines up there, but then this application is from a different company.
“This was what we always felt, that if something got its feet in the door then anything else coming along on the back of it would be difficult to do anything about.”
The group had been concerned about the visual impact of the original development and its potential impact on tourism in the area.
Mr Baird said he felt their efforts had improved the situation, as the reduced number of turbines and the relocation of some of them had reduced their visibility from strategic points.
He added that it was too early to say whether the development, which was officially opened in September of last year, had significantly affected tourism in the area.
Mr Baird said the group would have to look at the new application and consider what action to take.
Sutherland planning manager Allan Todd said the new turbines would be north west of the existing Beinn Tharsuinn windfarm. He said the proposed turbine sites were close to the existing windfarm, but neither were in the positions of turbines originally proposed by ScottishPower.
Mr Todd said the application would be advertised, with a closing date for representations on March 16, but it would not be determined before the council elections in May.
By Sue Restan
14 February 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding