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‘It’s like they’re breeding’: Highland villagers demand end to wind farm developments around scenic area
Highland villagers have insisted “enough is enough” as they demand an end to wind farm developments around their community.
Residents in Rosehall, Sutherland, have issued a desperate plea to the Scottish Government to draw a line now.
Between operational and proposed developments, the residents so far face the prospect of 136 turbines in close proximity.
The latest proposal is by EnergieKontor for 16 turbines about a mile south of the A837 Invershin to Lochinver road near Oykel Bridge and less than 3 miles from Rosehall.
At 820ft high the turbines would tower over the surroundings, and dwarf the 300ft machines already in the area.
EnergieKontor acknowledges the potential impact of the development in its scoping document, saying: “By virtue of the nature, size and location of the proposed development, it is anticipated that significant effects upon the receiving environment, particularly if unmitigated, are likely.”
‘Enough is enough’
Ashley Smith is chairman of the area’s No Ring of Steel group and stresses that residents aren’t necessarily anti-turbine or anti-renewables.
He said: “We already know of other developers looking around.
“There is little distance between most of them, and our fear is there will later be applications for extensions and every space on the hills around our beautiful rural community will be covered.
“This is why we are saying enough is enough.”
EnergieKontor describes the area as having “a greater ability to accommodate large scale wind farms”.
The document states: “Lairg, Achany, Rosehall, Kilbraur and Gordonbush wind farms are within this land character type, and wind farms are an acknowledged part of the landscape.”
But for local residents, it’s fast becoming an industrial landscape.
Mr Smith said: “It’s a landscape of turbines, they are every which way we look.
“It’s like they’re breeding.
“There is so much money in it for the companies we feel it’s a strategy – keep putting in applications and wear us down.
“We have to write letter after letter, we are not listened to and we are tired of it.
“Highland Council can turn developments down, but then it goes to appeal, we have no funds to fight it and the Scottish Government approves it.”
“It’s like they’re breeding.”
Mr Smith, who runs Invercassley B&B with his wife Tracy, said tourists can tolerate one or two turbines, but not a 360 degree view of them.
He added: “We risk population drift as a result of them, people can already hear their noise.
“There are no jobs after the construction phase.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our planning and consenting system ensures that local communities have their say and all applications for wind farm developments are subject to consultation with the public and statutory and local bodies, including community councils.
“All relevant factors, including any impacts on local communities, are considered alongside advice from officials throughout the consent process for wind farms, before any decisions are made.”
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