People living around a proposed five-turbine windfarm at Nigg, in Easter Ross, have vowed to fight the development, which is expected to cost up to £10million.
London-based renewable energy company Falck Renewables, which has an office in Inverness, has applied for planning permission to erect the turbines, measuring 410ft to tip of blade, on Wester Rarichie Farm, two-and-a-half miles south-west of Balintore. The proposed development would generate 10MW of electricity – enough for around 7,500 homes.
But members of Nigg Awareness Group (Nag), which represents objectors from the communities in and around the Hill of Nigg and the Tarbat Peninsula, are confident they have “robust grounds” for objection.
Nag co-chairman Neil Morrison said they were studying the application with expert advisers and would be responding fully to Highland Council. He said although the electricity produced by the scheme would be sufficient for 7,500 homes, it would go into the National Grid, rather than being used locally.
He said the small contribution the development would make to achieving renewable energy targets did not justify its disproportionate adverse impact on the area.
Mr Morrison said objectors were astonished at the claim by Falck’s consultants, Atmos Consulting, that the Hill of Nigg was a “good location for a windfarm”. He said: “This development will have a huge impact on a designated area of great landscape value and the setting of so much history and cultural heritage of international importance, such as the Pictish cross-slabs at Nigg and Shandwick.”
He added: “The Atmos spokesman paints a picture of an industrialised landscape with drilling rigs. It is no such thing – the oil terminal and fabrication yard are at sea level and tucked beneath the slopes of the Hill of Nigg, so they are camouflaged from most angles except Cromarty and Invergordon. They are invisible from most of the hill and most of Tarbat Peninsula. Rigs do pass through the narrows between the Sutors, but this is far less frequent now and is always a transient episode.”
11 February 2008
Nigg Awareness Group (NAG): hillofnigg.org.uk
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