Next month Falck Renewables are expected to lodge before Highland Council planning a proposal for a 10MW, five-turbine wind farm on top of the Hill of Nigg.
This is an area steeped in history and rich in natural landscape, an area visited by people from all over the world.
Tourists come here all the year round, not just from overseas but to escape from cities in the central belt and elsewhere in the UK, to get away from the busy metropolis, the industrialization, the traffic, and constant buzz of noise to a place of peace and calm where there is little traffic, no pylons, no street light pollution and other than the sea level base at Nigg yard – no industrialization!
They come to observe wildlife and birds, perhaps at the RSPB hide on Nigg Bay SSSI: to enjoy the award winning beach at Shandwick or walk – perhaps up the Hill of Nigg looking back over stunning views of the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths, past Bayfield Loch and through unspoiled Scots pine woods to the sweeping Moray Firth on the other side of the hill – the Hill of Nigg where Falck Renewables plan to site five 125 metre (410 feet) tall wind turbines.
Take a look at the guest book in Nigg church and see the many pages of visitors from the UK and overseas who come here to this peninsular to see Nigg church and the Nigg cross-slab, which is amongst the finest of all the cross-slabs in Scotland. They come to trace ancestors, learn about the history of this area, visit the Tarbat Discovery Centre, discover the Pictish artefacts and sculpture, and of course view the cross-slabs at Shandwick and Hilton all of which will be overshadowed by these huge wind turbines.
Tourism is actively encouraged on this peninsular as seen by the brown signage at Nigg roundabout, which invites people to turn off, linger and discover the nature, history and heritage of this scenic landscape.
Falck Renewables may say they will provide an ‘Environmental Impact Assessment’ to take account of the detrimental effects on tourism but if the proposal is allowed to go ahead and the turbines and upgraded roads scar the landscape Falck will move on –we are still here! Many businesses have worked very hard to invest in tourism serving this, the area in which they stay, and which they care about.
Indeed it will be a tragedy and a shock if tourists and visitors to this peninsular, particularly those looking forward to accommodation in Shandwick, Chapelhill/Pitcalnie or at the Log House on the top of the Hill of Nigg are faced, if this proposal goes ahead, with a holiday literally ‘under the arms’ of 5 huge whirling wind turbines. Will those people ever return? ‘VisitScotland’, the tourist board, is set up to encourage and introduce tourists to visit, discover and spend time in this region of the Highlands of Scotland.
This is an area of ‘high landscape and scenic value’.
Rightly designated as an ‘Area of Great Landscape Value’ it is a totally inappropriate site for this wind farm which would almost certainly ‘directly impact on tourism operations or activity’.
Let us not spoil our landscape but keep it scenic and natural now and for future generations.
Christine Asher, Bayfield, Nigg.
16 November 2007