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Expansion plans for Moray wind farm scaled back following local feedback

A wind farm developer has scaled back plans for a turbine extension in Moray following community feedback.

Statkraft had initially intended to build 10 additional towers at their Berry Burn project south of Forres.

However, now the developer has revised the plans to nine turbines – which will remain up to 490ft tall to the blade tip.

Yesterday the firm announced the reduction following “extensive site studies” and feedback from locals.

Project manager Mícheál Ó Broin said: “Since our last public exhibitions in March the project has been refined, taking into account the feedback we received from local people and a range of local and national organisations.

“Having nine turbines reduces this modest extension further. The turbine that was removed avoids an area of deep peat and means the nearest turbine to Dallas is now more than six kilometres (four miles) away.

“We are keen to share our revised proposals and how they can maximise the benefits for the community as well as for our environment with little visual impact.”

Berry Burn, which is about eight miles south of Forres, is already one of the largest operational wind farms in Moray with 29 existing turbines, which have been running since 2014.

Planning rules dictate that the proposed extension must be submitted directly to the Scottish Government due to the development being considered in its entirety.

Meanwhile, developer Force 9 Energy is also pursuing its own separate plans for the same site that could lead to 48 turbines being built as part of a project that could almost surround Berry Burn.

Statkraft has committed to launching a community benefit fund worth £4 million over 25 years, almost double the current total, if its extension turbines are approved.

Alison Hood, communications manager, said: “Due to the local interest shown in ecology, shared ownership and potential for improved broadband we are pleased to offer an opportunity for residents to attend sessions with industry experts on those topics over the three days.”

Exhibitions will be held about Statkraft’s plans on November 21 in Edinkillie Hall from 11am to 3pm and at the Houldsworth Institute in Dallas from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

Sessions will also be held in Rafford Village Hall on November 22 from 2pm to 6pm and on November 23 at Forres Town Hall from 11am to 3pm.