A protest group has given a resounding “thumbs down” to proposals for a seven megawatt wind farm development on the Black Isle despite the promise of a £35,000 annual windfall.
A public meeting at West Church, Cromarty was held in response to demands by the local community to meet with developers, concerned at the proximity of such large scale development.
Local people heard from Duncan Cameron of MacWind and Bright Spark Energy Ltd., the two commercial developers behind the proposals, how three turbines of 100m in height, almost half as big again as the tallest tower on the Kessock Bridge, are planned on high ground between Eathie and Davidston, near Cromarty.
Questioned on the height and visibility of the turbines, Mr Cameron stated that the turbine tips at 100m, will top the height of nearby Ethie Hill, and be some of the largest in Highland, as well as the first large commercial turbines on the Black Isle.
Concern was expressed from those living at the settlement of Davidston, within 700m of the proposed development at the proximity of the wind farm. Those attending the meeting also expressed concern over noise and health effects, but were unable to secure assurances from the developer that international World Health Organisation standards on noise pollution would be met.
One of the complaints of the 40 or so people present was a similar earlier event had not been adequately publicised, with claims that the developers’ website posting details only after the meeting had happened. As a result there had been no local representation from the main settlement affected.
Local Davidston resident, Diane Brawn said, “These turbines will be massive, truly industrial, and if they go ahead they’ll be right on our door step. As well as despoiling one of the most beautiful areas of the Black Isle, we will be so close, and are worried about the noise and flashing from the blades, both of which are proven to be injurious to health.”
The developer advised that no further public meetings were currently planned despite the impact on the north side of the Cromarty Firth.
However, Duncan Cameron, of MacWind said he had listened very carefully to the views expressed by local residents, although his company were not “obliged” to hold public meetings due to the scale of the development.
He said, “We have been involved in this development for two years now. There has been a mixed reception to the development at the two public meetings which were held in Cromarty. The first one in May was generally pretty warm, although there were a few objections at the second one last week.”
He added, “Community benefits have been agreed with Highland Council at £5,000 per megawatt, which means £35,000 will go into the local community fund per annum. The wind farm site will also have substantial benefits for the farm itself.”
Mr Cameron revealed the planning application for the three turbine development is expected to be submitted “in the course of the year.”
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