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‘Iconic’ Ross-shire view on the line with wind farm plans, it’s claimed  

Credit:  Ross-shire Journal | 09/10/2013 | www.ross-shirejournal.co.uk ~~

A new application for a wind farm in the Ben Wyvis area has brought strong opposition from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS).

The proposal from ABO Wind UK Ltd is for up to six turbines at Woodlands Farm, about three kilometres north of Dingwall. The site is on rough grazing land behind the Cnoc a’Bhreacaich hill, at an altitude of about 250 metres, and each structure would be 125 metres to blade tip.

The mountaineering council says the development would mar an iconic view of the mountain.

But the developers claim the site has been chosen after being identified by the Highland Council as being the most favoured in the area for wind farm development.

Mountaineering council chief officer David Gibson this week confirmed it would be lodging an official objection against the plan.

He said: “Based on our assessment of the information provided by ABO Wind UK, and given that the landscape and visual sensitivities relating to the proposal are rated ‘medium to high’, the MCofS will make a formal objection should this proposal come to a formal planning application.

“The operational and already extended wind farms to the north and south make the retention of open views to Ben Wyvis from the Black Isle of particular significance.”

“We are not anti-wind but seek proper protection from inappropriate developments for Scotland’s mountains and wild land.

“It seems that despite its iconic status as a major landscape feature in the north, that Ben Wyvis is open house for developers.

“Clearly, such speculation is fuelled by government incentives which guarantee financial returns and the lack of adequate protection in planning legislation for our mountain areas. When will the assault on Ben Wyvis cease?”

ABO Wind project manager Clark Crosbie said: “We are very much aware of the concerns about impacts on Ben Wyvis in relation to previous projects in the area.

“Indeed, the MCofS has already written to us on this matter and we have responded inviting them to the public exhibitions we are holding, where we will present for the first time our detailed proposals for the project.

“ABO Wind recognises the sensitivities relating to Ben Wyvis. This has significantly influenced our whole approach to the design of the wind farm and we believe we have used the topography of the existing land form around the site to minimise visual impacts.

“People will be able to judge this for themselves when they see the visual representations currently being prepared for our forthcoming public exhibitions.

“We encourage members of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and all other interested parties to attend.”.

“The site proposed for Woodlands Wind Farm is in the top rated ‘Stage Three – Area of Search’ for wind energy development, as designated by the Highland Council.

“As such, we have chosen a site in an area which the Highland Council feels is most appropriate for wind power”.

Earlier this year, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing opened ABO Wind UK’s Highland base in Inverness and, at that time, the company revealed plans to invest around £390 million in five wind farm proposals for the Highlands over the next three years.

The Woodlands Wind Farm is the first of these new projects.

In September the MCofS successfully urged developer PI Renewables to withdraw plans for a wind farm on Carn Gorm, on the southern slopes of the Ben Wyvis massif.

Earlier in the year Falck Renewables was refused planning permission for similar plans for a proposed Clach Liath wind farm on the eastern side of Ben Wyvis.

ABO Wind is holding three public meetings to explain its proposals: at Evanton Sports Centre on October 23; Findon Hall, Culbokie, on October 24, and Dingwall Town Hall on October 25.

The wind farm proposal can also be seen online at http:
/www.abowind.com/uk/projects/woodlands-wind-farm.ht

Source:  Ross-shire Journal | 09/10/2013 | www.ross-shirejournal.co.uk

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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