March 8, 2018

North-east community faces fresh fears over its beach

By David Proctor | The Press and Journal | March 8, 2018 |

A tiny north-east community has raised fresh fears that its beach will become a windfarm landing site.

Giant offshore cables could land at Sandend Bay with the company behind the project choosing the potential area for its onshore infrastructure.

The beach, which is a renowned surfing hotspot, is right in the middle of the development area.

The latest public meeting as part of the consultation for the project was held at Sandend village hall yesterday.

Locals have said they are still very much opposed to the wires from the Moray West development coming to their precious sands.

Johnny Ewart, who is a member of the Save Our Sandend campaign and a surfer, said he is concerned that the village beach could still be used.

He said: “They have shrunk it down but Sandend is still in the middle.

“We just don’t want our beach affected in any way, shape or form. The waves are too good really to risk any sort of change.

“Everything here is perfect the way it is and we don’t want anything to ruin it.”

Ray Murray is the chairman of the Fordyce, Sandend and district community council and said “very few” villagers backed the development.

He said: “Very few people have given any indication that they are in favour of what is being suggested.

“All of them are concerned for the disruption during the constructional efforts and they are also concerned about the long term affects.

“It is a 400,000 volt cable and the question I always ask is ‘Would you let your grandchildren play on the sand just above it?’ When you put it like that people say they don’t want it.”

A spokesman for Moray Offshore Renewables said he was “delighted” that locals had come to last night’s consultation event.

He said: “We are delighted at the turnout and look forward to collecting feedback from local people.

“We have been able to provide updated details of our process and we will continue to engage with the community council and local community as the project develops.”

The Moray West offshore windfarm will be made up of 90 turbines in the Moray Firth and it will provide power for around 900,000 homes.

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