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Altnaharra wind farm developers delighted that ‘no objection’ be recommended to committee tomorrow

Creag Riabhach Wind Farm Ltd, the developers of a proposed wind farm at Altnaharra, have issued a statement saying they are “delighted” that planning officials have recommended that the North Planning committee approve the proposal at their meeting tomorrow.

Creag Riabhach Wind Farm Ltd, which has been established by the Altnaharra Estate with a private local company, submitted the application for the proposed 22 turbine wind farm to the Scottish Government in January 2014.

As it is a Section 36 application, the Highland Council must first consider the application before a final decision is made by Scottish Ministers.

The wind farm would be located along the western side of the Strath Vagastie valley, to the west of the A836, around 20km north of Lairg and around 6km south of Altnaharra.

Each turbine (with a tip height of 125m) would have a generating capacity of 3.3MW, thereby resulting in a maximum total capacity of up to 72.6MW.

The estate has the support of the community councils in Bettyhill, Strathnaver and Altnaharra; Durness; Tongue; and Kinlochbervie who have written letters of support to the council.

Creag Riabhach Wind Farm would give the local communities a lasting legacy benefit of over £700,000 through the Estate’s Altnaharra Foundation that will be aimed at providing employment and business opportunities in the area.

The community benefit trusts coming from the wind farm will see £9m of community benefit during the lifetime of the project and Creag Riabhach have already established the North and West Sutherland Trust which will see the five community councils in the North and West of Sutherland distribute part of the community benefit fund. In addition, The Altnaharra Community Trust has also been set up which is for the benefit of residents in the immediate locality, which will include assistance with paying their electricity bills.

The Altnaharra Estate has been owned by James Gray and family of Fraserburgh for more than 20 years.

Tim Philpot, director of Creag Riabhach Wind Farm Ltd, said: “We are delighted that, following our hard work on the project and consultation with the local community, our proposals have now received a recommendation for approval from council planning officials. Creag Riabhach Wind Farm represents a significant opportunity for the local area and it is vital that the view of the local community is heard.”