The RSPB has re-affirmed its opposition to plans for an 18 turbine Skye windfarm close to the fragile nesting areas of golden eagles.
It has informed Highland Council that, unlike Scottish Natural Heritage, it is not satisfied that Amec’s revised environmental impact assessment addresses the potential threat to the species and other protected raptors.
It has also reminded planning chiefs that siting a windpark in the area – Edinbane, in the north of the island – would breach its own green energy guidelines because the area is not favoured for such development.
The million-member RSPB has warned the council that approval would also contravene the EU’s Habitats Directive, which could ultimately land the UK Government with a massive bill.
Amec’s latest revise was commissioned in response to concerns raised by various objectors last autumn.
Peter Gordon, RSPB north of Scotland conservation planner, said yesterday his organisation strongly backed renewable energy developments “in the right place,” but continued to believe Amec’s preferred site was an inappropriate location for such a scale and layout of windfarm.
The application will be reconsidered at a special meeting of the council’s planning committee in Portree on March 9.
A spokesman for Amec, which has welcomed the withdrawal of SNH’s objection, said: “We note RSPB Scotland is maintaining an objection to the Edinbane development, which lies eight miles away from the Cuillins SPA, while promoting the Pairc windfarm proposal on Lewis, which lies right next to an area designated to a level equivalent in law to an SPA for its significant golden eagle interests. This is the sort of inconsistency we say is at odds with RSPB Scotland’s charitable status and royal charter.”
Urging the Scottish Executive to call in the application, Skye Windfarm Action Group chairman John Hodgson, said: “In late October, Highland Council requested additional bird information on the advice of the executive. Amec’s latest addendum does not supply this information.”
By Iain Ramage
28 February 2007
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