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Site is an inappropriate one for a wind farm

A number of friends of the River Findhorn have expressed serious misgivings regarding the Berry Burn Wind Farm Environmental Statement on view until May 30 in Elgin Town Hall and Forres Library.

Specifically, they point to sections dealing with the risk of peat landslides that would impact on the Divie River, a major tributary of the Findhorn.

They are right to be concerned.

In its response to the wind farm developer’s assessment of peat slide risk, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), charged with vetting environmental impact studies, concluded that the developer’s mitigation measures to prevent peat landslides are “inappropriate for a peatland site; they would significantly increase the area of habitat lost and damaged by [the wind farm] development, and they have not been demonstrated in this report to be assured of success”.

While SNH makes a number of radical suggestions to improve the mitigation, there is nothing in its report to suggest that planning consent should be granted.

In that 30 out the 80 locations assessed on the Berry Burn site – before the developer’s “inappropriate” mitigation measures are put in place – pose “a significant peat slide hazard”, it must be concluded that the site is itself environmentally inappropriate for the development of a wind farm and that planning consent should either not be given or a public inquiry be authorised.

Members of the public concerned about the impact of industrialisation on the Dava Moor and the Findhorn – bearing in mind Berry Burn is but the first of seven wind farms proposed in the area – are urged to make their objection before May 30 by writing direct to Paul Smith, The Scottish Government, Consents and Energy Unit, 5 Cadogan Street, Glasgow, G2 6AT, or e-mail: energyconsents@scotland.gsi.gov.uk – Yours etc,

James Stuart, Dunphail.

The Northern Scot

23 May 2008