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Store moves to fight turbine plan  

Campaigners preparing to fight off a £10 million wind farm at Nigg are going shopping to ensure those opposed to the controversial development put their point across.

Members of Nigg Awareness Group (NAG) are preparing to set up shop in Balintore’s Spar store next week where they will man a help desk with the aim of assisting those who wish to write letters of objection – even going to the lengths of providing free stationery and stamps.

Falck Renewables, the developers behind the five-turbine proposal for Wester Rarichie Farm, say that it could supply enough green electricity for approximately 7,500 homes. Original estimates put the number at 6,000.

Members of NAG, however, have always insisted the 410ft turbines will dominate the entire area, including the Tarbat peninsula, with the highest turbine reaching 1,000ft above sea level.

They also claim the development will have no direct local benefit, with power going straight to the national grid.

In order to reach as many people as possible, the help desk will also make an appearance at Fearn Garage and Nigg Hall.

Among those helping co-ordinate the campaign are NAG members Claire Grant and husband Peter.

Mrs Grant explained: “We have permission from the owners of the Spar store who have granted us some of their floor space to set up a desk there for an hour on Tuesday and three hours on Wednesday.

“The aim is to help people compose letters of objection. A formal letter will be drafted, showing people the type of layout and form it should take. They can then use that to write their own letter or we will help them compose one.”

Despite their decision to take their campaign directly to the public, Mrs Grant admitted she was unsure how their presence will be greeted by shoppers.

“We might be rushed off our feet or equally we might have no-one come near us,” she added “We just don’t know which way it is going to go but we felt it was worth giving it a try.”

The two dates in Balintore will be followed next Thursday with a similar help desk being set up at Fearn Garage before culminating in two information open days at Nigg village hall on February 23 and 24, where general information on the application will be on display.

The information days are run by the local community council but members of NAG will also be on hand.

When the application was lodged recently, Neil Morrison, co-chair of NAG, said members had seen nothing in the documents lodged with Highland Council which reduced their fundamental concerns, especially with regard to the impact on the landscape.

Anyone interested in viewing the full planning application can see it at Highland Council offices in Dingwall, Inverness, Nigg Community Hall, the Seaboard Memorial Hall in Balintore and Cromarty Library.

In a statement issued to coincide with the lodged planning application, project manager Alasdair MacPherson said more than 100 people visited exhibitions in September last year which offered more information on the proposed scheme.

He also stressed the project had been assessed by independent specialists who evaluated aspects such as noise, nature conservation, landscape and visual impact.

By Shirley Hastings

North Star

16 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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