THE developers planning a small-scale wind farm at Nigg have submitted a planning application to Highland Council.
Falck Renewables plan to build a five-turbine wind farm on Wester Rarichie Farm, 4km south west of Balintore.
But the scheme is set to face stiff opposition locally with objectors claiming Hill of Nigg is a totally inappropriate site and concerns raised about the visual impact of turbines they say could exceed 400ft.
The scheme has been costed at between £8-10 million and would also include a site control building, grid connection, borrow pit, construction compound and access roads.
The developer says the wind farm would generate enough clean, green electricity to supply around 7,500 homes and help reduce reliance on existing less environmentally-friendly energy resources.
Over 100 people attended exhibitions held in September and November to provide more information on the proposed scheme.
Following the exhibitions, which included photomontages illustrating the predicted visual impact, the developers produced further views in response to requests from the public.
Project manager Alasdair MacPherson said, “The purpose of the exhibitions was to explain the detail of the project and to seek the views of local people before it was submitted for planning.
“We heard a wide cross-section of views but most people wanted to ask specific questions or discuss possible amendments.
“The project has been assessed by independent specialists who have evaluated aspects such as noise, nature conservation, archaeology, landscape and visual impact. We have also been liaising with statutory organisations such as Scottish Natural Heritage, The Highland Council, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.”
Anyone interested in viewing the full planning application can see it at Highland Council offices in Dingwall, Inverness Head Quarters in Glenurquhart Road, Nigg Community Hall, the Seaboard Memorial Hall in Balintore, and in Cromarty Library. Further information on the project can be found online at www.niggwindenergy.co.uk.
The Nigg Awareness Group (NAG), comprised of objectors unhappy about many aspects of the scheme, last week launched its own website and declared itself ready and waiting to challenge the proposal.
Neil Morrison, chairman of NAG, said, “We are ready and waiting for this application and have our team of experts lined up. We are confident that we have robust grounds for objection and look forward to the opportunity to voice these in detail in our response to the application. But individuals’ opinions are vitally important: I urge all those who share our concerns to be sure to write to the Highland Council once the application details and address for comments on the application are published. Among our many concerns, we say this is a wind farm too far, which will have a huge visual impact over a wide area, degrade the unspoilt setting of some of the finest Pictish art in Scotland and offer nothing in real, long term local benefit to the communities it will affect.”
The site can be found at www.hillofnigg.org.uk.
By Hector Mackenzie
28 January 2008
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