People living close to the site of a proposed major north coast wind farm have voted to oppose the development.
Two-thirds of those who responded were against Scottish and Southern Energy’s 35-turbine venture on the north side of Strathy Forest.
The poll was undertaken by Strathy and Armadale Community Council, which will now be lodging a formal objection.
Officials from the power company travelled north to spell out their plans at a public meeting in the village hall last month.
Several local people then claimed that the turbines ““ which would stand 110 metres to the tips of their blades ““ would desecrate the area.
A total of 103 households were surveyed, with just over 60 per cent responding. Seventy-eight people voted to oppose the £90 million development, with 35 supporting it.
Community council chairwoman Janette Mackay said yesterday the outcome had been expected, though she was surprised the majority against had not been bigger.
She said feedback at the meeting and other soundings she had taken identified the extent of the development as the main concern.
“I think most of the opposition relates to the sheer size of it,” said Mrs Mackay, of Honeysuckle Cottage, Strathy West. “One or two folk who are against say they would have been happy had it been a smaller development.
“It’s the scale of it that is the frightening thing.”
Mrs Mackay said the community council has pledged to reflect local views and will therefore be objecting to SSE’s planning application to the Scottish Executive.
She added: “Of course, we don’t know if our stance will make any difference to what is eventually decided.”
At last month’s meeting, SSE’s Strathy project manager Simon Heyes revealed that the company is close to submitting follow-up plans to build a further 77 turbines on the south side of the forest.
The first phase is designed to produce 82 megawatts of electricity which SSE says could service the needs of 39,500 households.
SSE is seeking separate consent to lay a 12-kilometre underground cable from the site to connect with the national grid at the foot of the single-track Strath Halladale road.
16 March 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding