The Public Local Inquiry into the application to site a windfarm at Merranblo, near Stromness, is due to open in the town next Monday.
An independent assessor from the Scottish Government’s Inquiry Reporters Unit will chair the inquiry, at the Royal Hotel, Stromness, beginning at 10am on Monday, which is scheduled to last for eight days.
The applicants, landowner Major Malcolm Macrae of Binscarth who owns the Breckness Estate, and Stromness-based energy specialists Scotrenewables, which would build the three wind turbine development, will restate the case for going ahead with the scheme.
Orkney Islands Council, which gave planning permission to the project, against its own planning department’s advice, will have to justify its decision. In normal circumstances, OIC planners would lead the council’s case, but because members overruled their advice, the OIC legal department will have to represent the authority’s stance on the application. The council has also engaged senior lawyers to attend the inquiry and provide expert legal advice.
Principal objectors to the Merranblo windfarm will be Historic Scotland (not Scottish Natural Heritage as previously reported), supported by Stromness Community Development Trust, which feels there is not enough community benefit from the proposed scheme. The trust is planning to apply for permission to erect its own community wind turbine scheme at the former Stromness Waterworks site, less than a mile from Merranblo.
17 January 2008
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