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Objectors state their case at Merranblo Inquiry  

Claims that a windfarm at Merranblo would ‘disfigure’ Orkney’s World Heritage Site and compromise one of Scotland’s most sensitive landscapes have been made at the public inquiry into the project.

The possibility of Orkney ending up on the ‘in-danger’ list of World Heritage Sites was also raised on day four of the hearing yesterday (Thursday).

Susan Denyer, from ICOMOS-UK – which promotes good practice in the care of World Heritage Sites – said the relationship between Neolithic monuments like the Ring of Brodgar and the surrounding hills was much the same as it was 5000 years ago.

In her view, the decision by Orkney Islands Council to grant permission of the windfarm at Merranblo effectively undermined the commitment of the UK Government to protect the county’s World Heritage Site.

Having the three turbines on the skyline would have an ‘overpowering’ impact, Mrs Denyer warned.

“If these turbines were allowed, this single decision would in effect compromise one of the most sensitive landscapes in Scotland,” she told the hearing.

She linked the Orkney monuments with others including Stonehenge and Avebury and said: “It would be unthinkable if any of theses sites were to be disfigured by an array of wind turbines overlooking them.”

Mrs Denyer added that if the turbines are given the go-ahead, this could be a reason for consideration of the possibility of Orkney being included on the in-danger list of World Heritage Sites.

The key objector to the Merranblo windfarm, the Government agency Historic Scotland, also provided evidence in support of its case.

Dr Allan Rutherford, a senior inspector of ancient monuments, said the turbines would be seen from the monuments as “high and massive” structures and so have a significant adverse impact on setting of the World Heritage Site.

Orkney Today

25 January 2008

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