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Turbine plan threat to drivers, say protesters  

Credit:  By Jane Candlish, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 30 January 2012 ~~

Opposition is growing to plans for a windfarm near Inverness amid claims that it could distract drivers on the main trunk road through the Highlands.

A petition has been set up against West Coast Energy’s plans for 13 turbines on the hills above Daviot and the local community council is also preparing to lodge a formal objection. If given the go-ahead, the windfarm would be the closest yet to Inverness and turbines would operate just a few hundred yards from the A9 Inverness-Perth road.

The 13 turbines, which will stand 377ft from ground to blade tip, will have a total capacity of 32.5megawatts – enough to power about 18,600 homes.

As part of the development, the company has signed a deal with the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and Inverness College that means the two education institutions will receive a total of £3.25million over 25 years.

It would be the first windfarm project in the Highlands to invest directly in education and skills.

However, the deal was criticised earlier this month by Highland councillor Jim Crawford, who accused the university of taking a “bribe”.

Daviot residents have now set up a petition against the development and are urging householders to write to Highland Council opposing the development.

One resident, Tony Kell, said yesterday they were concerned about the turbines being so close to the A9. He said the closest would be just 300 yards from the busy road.

Mr Kell said: “When drivers heading south come to the part where the road comes out of the trees and changes from dual to single carriageway, they will be able to see a turbine in their peripheral vision. We think this will distract motorists.”

Strathnairn Community Council , which covers Daviot, has confirmed it will object to the development.

Chairman James Macpherson said: “It is not a suitable place for a windfarm. It will be in everybody’s face.”

The community council will hold a meeting on Monday, February 13, to agree the wording of its objection before submitting it to Highland Council.

Mr Macpherson added that members also felt the deal between West Coast Energy, UHI and Inverness College was “disgraceful”.

The Daviot windfarm is one of two planned by West Coast Energy in the Highlands.

The second is at Dunbeath, where the company wants to put up 17 turbines.

The company also built the Ben Aketil windfarm on Skye and the Kilbraur windfarm in Sutherland.

No one from West Coast Energy was available for comment yesterday.

UHI and Inverness College were also unable to comment, although college principal John Spencer has said previously: “The proposals on the table are simply the result of an application currently under consideration by the Highland Council, the outcome of which the college has absolutely no influence over.”

Documents on Highland Council’s planning website reveal that Transport Scotland is not objecting to the development.

The agency has merely asked for conditions to be attached to any consent giving it the right to approve the route of any abnormal loads.

Source:  By Jane Candlish, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 30 January 2012

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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