Angry protesters stormed a community meeting yesterday to voice their fears over plans for a major Inverness-shire windfarm.
About 20 people entered Kiltarlity village hall waving placards and shouting slogans to show their opposition to plans to erect 23 turbines close to the village.
They temporarily disrupted a public information session, organised by Druim Ba Sustainable Energy, which outlined the final plans for the controversial development on the Blairmore estate.
Developers have reduced the number of turbines from a maximum of 31, removing the machines closest to Ardendrain, Abriachan, and the Great Glen Way, and reducing the overall area by about 11%.
Under the plans, which are to be submitted to the Scottish Government, the turbines will be a maximum of 490ft and they will be “key-holed” into the Druim Ba forest.
They are expected to be visible from locations as far afield as Whitebridge, on the east side of Loch Ness, from parts of Dingwall, and from the Munro Sgurr a’ Choire Ghlais, in Glen Strathfarrar.
Denise Davis, of Ardblair, near Kiltarlity, is leading the Druim Ba – Say No campaign against the windfarm, whose members believe the developers have picked the wrong location.
She said: “They have reduced the number of turbines and they have reduced their height by about half-a-metre, but I don’t think that’s going to make much of a change to the impact.
“They are so massive, moving them a few metres is not going to make much of a difference.”
Mrs Davis added: “We went inside the meeting so they could see how many people are objecting to this. These are working people, taking an afternoon off to make their point.”
At the meeting the developers gave reassurances on the visual and noise impact of the turbines, and the effect they could have on wildlife, especially rare Slavonian grebes.
The windfarm will have a maximum generating capacity of 69MW, enough to meet the electricity demands of 38,000 homes. Developers said the community will receive £4,500 per MW as a benefit – up from £4,000.
Debbie Chawner, a director of Druim Ba, said: “We have listened to what our consultees said, we have reduced the number of turbines, moved them further away from houses, and the site is smaller so overall it’s a really solid project.
Another exhibition will be held at Abriachan hall today and at Beauly Church Hall tomorrow from 2-8pm.
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