Thousands of tonnes of materials are set to make their way on to Perthshire’s roads this month as construction of the giant Griffin wind farm gets under way.
After months spent strengthening and widening roads in Highland Perthshire the parts that will make up the £200 million development’s 68 turbines will finally begin to arrive.
Postponed on Monday and Tuesday because of the weather, the first deliveries are due today, with a convoy of abnormal load vehicles travelling under police escort from Rosyth to the Griffin site near Aberfeldy.
Over the coming months the convoys will become a familiar site on the roads, with four such deliveries set to make their way up the M90, A9, A822 and A826 each week until October.
The creation of Scotland’s third-largest wind farm in the heart of Highland Perthshire has been hugely unpopular with locals, who fear it will scar the landscape. It was also opposed by Perth and Kinross Council.
The matter went to a public inquiry, following which the Scottish ministers decided that SSE Renewables’ plan should go ahead.
Communities have already faced disruption with the roads network being significantly realigned to enable the 125-metre turbine blades to reach the site. The Ladywell Bridge also needed to be lowered to allow construction vehicles through and locals maintain passing it will still be like “threading a needle.”
With the primary components that make up the turbines – towers, nacelles, hubs and blades – not set to hit the roads, SSE Renewables has admitted there will be further disruptions.
A spokeswoman said, “Together with the police, we have met with representatives from local businesses and the community and understand their concerns. However, it is inevitable that during this phase of the construction there will be some disruption to road users, not only in the immediate locality, but elsewhere on the route from Rosyth, where the components are being landed, along the M90, around the outskirts of Perth and up the A9 to its junction with the A822.”
She added, “All of these factors have to be taken into account when planning movements of this type.
SSE plans to make four deliveries a week – one on a Monday and Tuesday and two on a Wednesday, when there will be morning and afternoon trips. During that process there will, however, be a number of dates designated as delivery-free – such July 8, 9 and 10, when T in the Park takes place.
Though SSE believes every possible effort has been made to reduce disruption, Jill Wilson of the Amulree and Strathbraan Wind Farms Action Group said she feared the impact the deliveries will have on the local area.
“The work being carried out on the roads has already been hell for the community,” she said. “The biggest bombshell for us in recent weeks, however, has been that rather than one delivery per day as we anticipated, there will in fact be two.
“This will impact upon the whole of Highland Perthshire, make no mistake.”
Each of the turbines that will make up the Griffin wind farm has been manufactured in sections so that they can be transported to and assembled on site, but the size of the primary components means they must be delivered by road using abnormal load vehicles. Each convoy will consist of the police escort, three abnormal load vehicles and at least one additional escort vehicle.
The police vehicles will travel ahead of the convoy, instructing oncoming traffic to pull over until the convoy has passed.
Tayside Police has indicated that it may take up to 90 minutes to reach the site from the A9, although this may change depending upon which components are being carried. Once they have unloaded, the trailers can then be retracted to the length of a normal articulated heavy goods vehicle, no longer requiring an escort.
* Information will be regularly updated at www.sse.com/griffin and there is a PDF with in-depth information available to download.