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Backing sought for far north’s first community windfarm  

Villagers in east Caithness are being asked whether or not they would support the far north’s first community-owned windfarm.

Just over 1,000 people living in the Latheron, Clyth and Lybster Community Council area are to vote on plans to redevelop an area of cleared forest at Rumster.

The community company spearheading the scheme say it could generate about £4million over its 20-year lifetime.

It has arranged a round of consultations, starting tonight to allow people to find out about how the scheme could affect them.

Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Development Company was launched a year ago to help regenerate an area hit hard by population loss.

If it gets the go-ahead, the company would buy the 40 hectare tract of ground from Forestry Commission Scotland for £80,000 under the national forest land scheme.

Its current plans envisage the construction of three turbines, though company secretary Eric Larnach yesterday made clear this would be the maximum number.

Mr Larnach said: “We have carried out a feasibility study but before we go any further, we have to get the support of people in the area.”

The ballot is being held on the week beginning May 5, with a majority in favour required to take the plans forward.

Mr Larnach said the feasibility study had indicated the turbines – up to 330ft tall – should not be visible from most parts of Lybster.

The company is projecting an average annual dividend of £200,000 from the electricity sold to the National Grid.

Mr Larnach said the funding would be used to breathe life into local communities. He said: “We’re updating our development plans and we want people in the area to help us firm up what schemes they would like to see prioritised.

“We want to provide improved facilities and tackle problems we have with public transport and a lack of affordable housing which has forced young families to move out of the area.”

Mr Larnach said people in the area can join the company for £1. Currently it has just over 50 members.

Sessions are being held at Latheron Community Hall tonight between 3pm and 5pm and 6pm and 8pm; Clyth Community Hall tomorrow between the same times; and Lybster Community Hall on Thursday between 10am and noon and 3pm and 5.30pm. A public meeting is in Lybster Community Hall from 7pm on Thursday.

The Press and Journal

22 April 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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