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Padlocked gate barring windfarm access is opened up 

Walkers, cyclists and horse-riders can now access a Highland windfarm track which has been blocked by a padlocked gate for more than a year.

The 17-turbine windfarm at Beinn Tharsuinn, near Ardross, on the Sutherland/Ross-shire border, which generates 29 megawatts of electricity – enough for 16,000 homes – was approved by Highland Council, despite intense local opposition, in August 2004.

It became operational in spring of last year, and was officially opened last August.

But, until very recently, anyone wishing to walk along the access route to the £25million development from the B9176 Struie Road, at Aultnamain, had to climb over a seven-foot gate, making it totally inaccessible to cyclists and horse-riders.

At that time, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCS) pointed out that the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 required land managers to respect the access rights of others.

MCS senior officer David Gibson said this meant they should not obstruct or hinder people from exercising access rights by physically obstructing access.

“Locking a gate is defined as deliberate or unreasonable in this context, without providing an alternative,” said Mr Gibson.

However, windfarm operator ScottishPower has now rectified the situation.

The company’s windfarm operations team manager, Lee Callaghan, said a public access gate, designed in consultation with the local Highland Council access officer and the British Horse Society, had now been installed next to the locked main gate.

“The gate is now in place and, as far as we know, it meets all our obligations.

“Everyone can get in there now, so, hopefully, everyone will be happy,” said Mr Callaghan.

He added that the high locked gate was needed to prevent vehicular access, for security and safety reasons. The turbines and associated buildings are also protected by a CCTV system.

By Sue Restan

thisisnorthscotland.co.uk

9 April 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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