The prospective operator of a windfarm on a peat bog in Caithness is facing opposition to its bid to increase the height of some turbines by just over 3ft.
The problem came when the developer changed the design of the foundations so that 11 of the 25 turbine towers would be sitting on top of the land rather than embedded in the soil.
E.ON UK has found the peat in parts of the site is deeper than anticipated and now intends piling some of the foundations.
It is seeking permission to add 1.2m (about 3ft 9in) to the 393 ft blade-tip height of 11 of the 25 turbines.
Kerr Willis, project manager for E.ON’S consultants Natural Power, said the change would have virtually no impact on the skyscape.
At a public meeting E.ON hosted on t he planned change, Watten resident Julie Catterall, of Watten Station, said: “It would be quite a significant change in terms of the impact when taken along with the other wind turbines in this area.”
Islay MacLeod, from Thrumster, claimed E.ON had failed to comply with a planning condition in starting work before finalising the specification for the turbine towers.
Stuart Young, chairman of Caithness Windfarm Information Forum, claimed E.ON breached a condition by carrying out work during the bird breeding season.
E.ON’S construction project manager, Dean Guy, said the firm had received permission from the council to continue after the start of the bird breeding season with the proviso that an ecologist surveyed the ground in advance.
He said piling foundations would be a more expensive option.
“We think it makes sense in terms of lessening the impact and we should make clear that there is absolutely no financial gain to us through increasing the tip height,” Mr Guy said.
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