June 7, 2012

Huge wind farm planned near Forres

Mike Tremlett, Forres Gazette, www.forres-gazette.co.uk 6 June 2012

The Forres Gazette can ‘exclusively report that Moray Council is considering proposals for the construction of a controversial wind farm on the Logie Estate south of Forres which would, if it gets the go-ahead, be one of the biggest installations of its kind in Scotland, the biggest wind farm along the Moray Coast and visible from as far away as Forres, Findhorn, Nairn and Elgin.

The proposal, which is listed on Moray Council’s planning website as “pending consideration”, was lodged on April 2 to sound out the council’s views on the construction of 14 2300kw-rated turbines mounted on 64-metre towers on the north-facing side of Hill Of Glaschye six miles south of Forres.

The proposed site lies just over a mile east of the A940 road from Forres to Grantown on Spey and close to the popular Dava Way hiking route near the villages of Logie, Whitemire and Conicavel and is surrounded by 24 houses, the nearest just over half-a-mile from the nearest turbine tower.

Moray Council’s planning site is currently carrying outline details of the proposed wind farm in a Scoping Report submitted on behalf of Logie Estate owner Mr Alasdair Laing by the company he has engaged to project manage the development, Turriff-based Muirden Energy LLP, which includes an environmental impact assessment prepared for the council.

The report indicates that the proposed site, which has been categorised as being of the lowest nature and landscape sensibility by Scottish National Heritage, is suitable for 14 turbines, which could be built in three to five months, with their highest point – the tip of a vertical rotor blade soaring some 134.5 metres above the landscape and visible from up to 22 miles away.

Scottish National Heritage’s consultation response to the proposal is not currently available to the public and the local authority’s planning site is not currently accepting comments from the public on the wind farm plans.

A Moray Council spokesman said: “The proposer has requested information from the council about the level of detail and information required for an environmental statement which would accompany any subsequent planning application.”

Speaking on behalf of Muirden Energy, Mr Alex Fowlie, one of the four consultants who assessed the Hill of Glaschye site said: “The Scoping Report is the very first stage in the study of the feasibility of the proposed development and it presents the facts about the suitability of the proposed site as a vehicle to elicit the council’s views and the views of other stakeholders’ such as Scottish National Heritage, the Ministry of Defence, the Civil Aviation Authority and SEPA, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

“We are, at the moment, in the process of talking to local residents and community groups to see if there can be any spin-off benefits for them in terms of supporting local projects, local good causes and improving the local infra-structure.

“We are very keen to be completely open about the project right through the process from its current very early stage right through to planning submission because as an energy company we know that wind farms can be a contentious issue.

“As things stand, we are at a very early point in the procedure and it could be some 18 months before the project gets off the ground as the local authority first has to be satisfied that the plans are environmentally sound.”

Estate owner Alistair Laing ssaid he wants to work with the company and keep people fully informed.

Full story in this week’s Gazette…in your shops now.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/06/07/huge-wind-farm-planned-near-forres/