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Protesters claim images of windfarm are misleading  

Credit:  By Jane Candlish, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 3 March 2011 ~~

Protestors against an Inverness-shire windfarm claim they are being misled by images created by the developers showing how the turbines will fit into the surrounding countryside.

A total of 23 turbines are planned as part of the Druim Ba windfarm, on the Blairmore estate, near Kiltarlity.

The plans are to be submitted to the Scottish Government.

The turbines 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.

The developers, Druim Ba Sustainable Energy, have already removed a number of turbines from the plans.

The development company was set up by landowner European Forest Resources Scotland (ERFS) to take the windfarm scheme forward.

A recent public exhibition included a montage of the windfarm on hills of the Blairmore Estate.

But residents, who wished to scrutinise the montage, were refused a copy. Instead they took their own photograph of the developer’s picture.

Using it, residents have measured the size of the turbines compared to the company’s nearby wind speed-testing anemometer, which can be faintly seen in the picture.

The residents understand that the anemometer is roughly 220ft high and, using this measurement as a guide, they have estimated that the montage shows the turbines at about 320-360ft.

This, they say, is far below the actual height of the turbines, which will be up to 490ft from base to blade tip.

One resident, John Mackenzie, 71, of Ardblair, said he raised the issue with the developers last year and had requested a copy of previous montages, which he said were also inaccurate.

Mr Mackenzie said: “We want an open relationship between the community and developer, but there is so much secrecy and misrepresentation.”

Denise Davis, of Ardblair, near Kiltarlity, who is leading the Druim Ba – Say No campaign against the windfarm, said: “The people that are most affected are being deceived.”

However, a spokeswoman for the development company said yesterday that the anemometer was actually 262ft tall.

And EFRS director Donald Ross said: “The visual representations of the windfarm displayed at the public exhibitions were produced in accordance with the guidelines from both Highland Council and Scottish Natural Heritage.

“The visuals were produced by reputable, experienced landscape and visual architects who have worked on many similar projects.

“We are sorry that certain members of the public appear to have misunderstood the purpose of the visuals, or the basis upon which they were produced.

“The contents of the submission, including photo- montages, wireline drawings and maps showing the zones of theoretical visibility, will be available to the public for viewing at Highland Council offices after the date of submission.”

Source:  By Jane Candlish, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 3 March 2011

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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