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Day five of Merranblo Inquiry  

Historic Scotland has faced close questioning at the Merranblo windfarm public inquiry into whether it wants to maintain a ‘pristine’ skyline in the area.

The Government agency, which claims the three wind turbines would have a severe adverse impact on Orkney’s World Heritage Site, was asked to state if it considered the development would set a precedent.

Historic Scotland is the key objector to the Merranblo project at the inquiry, which is being held after Orkney Islands Council awarded planning permission for the turbines despite the opposition from the agency.

Frances McChlery, the solicitor representing the council, cross examined Dr Allan Rutherford, a senior inspector of ancient monuments with Historic Scotland, on day five of the proceedings.

She asked if the agency wanted the skyline to the west of monuments like the Ring of Brodgar to be kept “pristine” both now and in the future.

Dr Rutherford replied that any developments were always treated on a case-by-case basis.

Ms McChlery responded by asking if Historic Scotland would have a problem with anything that appeared above the skyline, if it was quasi-industrial, too modern, or too incongruous compared to the Neolithic monuments.

He said that would partly depend on the scale of the development, the lawyer then asking what would happen if it was something other than a migh, massive or conspicuous structure.

Dr Rutherford replied: “If it was a small shepherd’s hut, I don’t think we would have a problem with that.”

He told the inquiry that the western horizon had a particular importance to the setting of the monuments.

The ridge of hills was undeveloped at present and so building turbines there would have a particularly adverse effect on the World Heritage Site, he added.

The inquiry continues on Tuesday.

Orkney Today

28 January 2008

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