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Walk to see windfarm ‘devastation’  

Credit:  By Iain Grant, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 18 March 2011 ~~

Members of the public are invited to take a Sunday afternoon stroll through an archaeology-rich part of Caithness which it is claimed would be devastated if the green light is given to a commercial windfarm.

RWE npower renewables is seeking consent to put up nine turbines on farmland on Burn of Whilk, near Thrumster.

Objectors claim the development would blight what is acknowledged as one of the best-preserved and extensive archaeological sites in the country.

Sunday’s walk, starting at 1pm along the Yarrows trail, is being organised on the eve of the firm’s planning application going before Highland Councillors.

Islay MacLeod, a director of her family firm which owns Thrumster Estate, yesterday made clear it is not a protest march.

Mrs MacLeod, who has objected to the plans, said the event – to which local councillors have been invited – is designed to highlight just what the area stands to lose were the windfarm to get the go-ahead.

She said: “We want to highlight to people the unique appeal of this area around Yarrows. People can see the neothilic long cairn, the Iron Age broch, the standing stones and so on.

“It’s one of the most important archaeological landscapes in northern Europe and one that attracts thousands of visitors every year.”

She said the mile-and-a-half long trail – most of which is on the estate’s land – is only part of the site but it gives people a feel for what is there.

The turbines, which would stand 116 metres to the tips of their blades, are earmarked to go up on land between East Clyth and the Loch of Warehouse. Mrs MacLeod said: “The windfarm is planned to be built mainly on the forestry above the trail.

“It would completely dominate the archaeology – it would overshadow the cairns and totally change the look of the whole area.”

Her estate is also very concerned that its falconry business will be badly affected by RWE’s turbines.

The firm last year scaled down its original plans from 13 to nine turbines.

The application is to go before a hearing of Highland Council’s Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross planning committee in Wick Assembly Rooms on March 29.

A RWE spokesperson said yesterday the archaeology interest of the area has been fully addressed as part of the environmental impact assessment it carried out.

She said: “We take environmental considerations very seriously and we undertook a variety of studies, which included an examination of the impact of the development on the archaeology of the area.”

Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland have withdrawn objections which they initially submitted to the application. The windfarm is designed to generate up to 27 megawatts of electricity, which would supply the needs of over 11,000 homes.

Source:  By Iain Grant, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 18 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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