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How many people risk having their representations excluded?  

I write with reference to the advertisement under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 on page 14 of your newspaper on October 19.

This advertisement, headed BAILLIE WINDFARM LIMITED, is for planning consent to construct and operate a wind farm at Bardnaheigh Farm, Westfield, comprising 21 turbines. It asks that representations, to be received by November 28, 2007, should be made “identifying the proposal” and specifying grounds for objection or support.

The reason why we must properly “identify the proposal” is obvious. The people who receive the letter of either objection or support are in Glasgow and depend upon correct identification to determine to which proposal (and there are many) the representation should be applied. Inaccuracy could therefore lead to your representation being applied to the wrong application or, should there be no application bearing that name or number listed, simply ignored. However, since the advertisement in your newspaper does not contain the usual Application Reference Number, properly identifying this proposal is proving just a wee bit difficult. This is the first time that I have been unable to immediately identify an application from the advertisement so I thought, “Oh well, easily remedied, ring the planning department, they will have it.”

Three telephone calls later – one to Wick, one to Inverness and one to my sister-in-law who had just received a letter from Mr Hartland – and I found myself with: Three slightly different application numbers. Three very different names. Confusion over the number of turbines. No-one recognised Bardnaheigh or 21 turbines.

So, for identification purposes, I have thus far:

* Your advertisement: Bardnaheigh Farm – 21 turbines – no application number.
* Wick planning department: Stemster Farm – 25 turbines – application number 0400342/S36CA.
* Inverness planning: Stemster Farm – 25 turbines – application number 04342S36CA.
* Letter, Mr Hartland: Baillie and South Shebster – turbine number not specified – application number 04/00342/s36RC.

What I do not know is the “identity” which has been given to the Energy Consents Unit in Glasgow.

I have a letter of representation to write. That letter must be received before November 28. I know, because I have looked at the map, that the farm is Bardnaheigh. I believe that the number of turbines is 21. However, what I think I know or what I believe is of absolutely no relevance. If what I use to “identify the proposal” is Bardnaheigh and the Energy Consents Unit in Glasgow is looking for Stemster or Baillie and Shebster, they will not find it and my letter of representation will not be included in those to be considered. This will apply to everyone who writes using the advertised designation if it is incorrect. How many people, wishing to make representation on this proposal, will automatically assume that the information given is correct, use it, and risk being excluded? This will also apply to any person using the wrong application number.

Is there anyone who knows which combination of components from the above selection correctly identifies the advertised proposal? It is obvious that no-one in the planning department does.

If anyone who may read this does know the correct “identity” of this application, will they please let me have the information so that I can write with reasonable confidence?

A.L. Cumming, Corsback Cottage, Gillock.

John O’Groat Journal

26 October 2007

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

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