Councillors agree to raise no objection to Achany Extension, but on condition two turbines are removed
The chairman of a local wind farm campaign group has said he is “extremely disappointed” at a decision by north councillors not to raise an objection to the planned Achany Extension wind farm, earmarked to go on a site at Glen Cassley.
Ashley Smith of No Ring of Steel (NORoS) said the development would have a “devastating impact on an area of natural beauty”.
“It will affect the designated wild land that it will be located on,” he said. “Wild land status is supposed to protect our special areas and if this is allowed, what hope is for any of our wild lands in the future?”
Members of the North Planning Applications Committee agreed at their meeting on Tuesday to uphold planners’ recommendation not to object to the 20-turbine wind farm proposed by SSE Generation.
However the authority is recommending that two turbines – numbers 10 and 20 – be removed to mitigate the visual impact.
The application has been lodged with the Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit as the installed capacity from the 149.9m high turbines will be 50mw.
Councillors were told that the development – sited 4.5km north of Rosehall – was a redesign of the previous Glen Cassley Wind Farm application, which had been refused. The turbines were now sited closer to an existing cluster of wind farms and further away from a National Scenic Area.
“The design is considered to have significantly improved the scheme and this will be further improved by the removal of two turbines,” planners said.
Cllr Richard Gale, East Sutherland and Edderton, said at the meeting: “I have reservations aout this. Just looking at the cumulative impact of wind farms, it is really quite significant. We need to be aware of the continuing proliferation of these developments in rural settings and not just cover our landscape in turbines.”
North, West and Central Sutherland councillor Hugh Morrison said: “It is difficult. It is an area that has got a few wind farms and I can see both sides of it, but I am happy to go with this. It makes sense to have a continuation of what is there rather than putting it somewhere else.”
Achany Extension senior project manager Gillian Wilson said: “This is a positive decision and we believe it recognises our commitment and track record at SSE Renewables to always develop onshore wind energy projects in a responsible way.
“Achany Extension has been designed sensitively and will maximise the use of existing infrastructure at our operational Achany Wind Farm.
“We have listened carefully to people’s views to ensure that we are considering local needs and priorities wherever possible.”
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