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Developer defends decision to submit new plans for rejected wind farm

The prospective developer of a wind farm in the north-west tip of Caithness has defended its decision to submit new plans after its previous scheme was knocked back.

Drum Hollistan Renewables LLP’s proposed 17-turbine venture on grazing land on Sandside Estate, near Reay was in June refused planning consent by Scottish Ministers following a public local inquiry.

Yesterday, the firm’s partners Muirburn Energy held a drop-in session in the village hall to unveil rejigged plans to erect seven 4.2 megawatt turbines on the same site.

The blade-tip height of the turbines has been cut from 139 metres to 125 metres while they have been set back further from both the A836 and the coastline.

Alex Fowlie, Muirden’s business manager, said: “Although wind farms are always a contentious issue, we have had considerable local support for Drum Hollistan and feel this new application addresses the concerns raised by the (inquiry) Reporter towards the original application on what is an excellent site for wind turbines.

“This development represents a considerable investment which would bring real economic benefit to the area and community benefit worth £147,000 for local good causes for every year of the wind farm’s life.”

The original scheme was rejected because of its perceived significant adverse impact on the landscape and on protected wild land.

Opponents have pledged to fight the scaled-down plans as well as the bid by Infinergy and Boralex to erect seven turbines on ground to the immediate south of the village adjoining the site where it has consent to put up 21 turbines.