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Foothills of iconic Ben Wyvis sized up for wind farm project 

Credit:  By Neil MacPhail | 28 July 2023 | ross-shirejournal.co.uk ~~

The foothills of iconic Ben Wyvis are once again being targeted by a renewable energy company as a site for a wind farm.

E Power Ltd have just put in a scoping application to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit for a wind farm comprising up to 22 turbines with a maximum blade tip height of up to 200m which will be visible from the Ness Bridge in Inverness on a clear day.

The area on the Heights of Docharty above Dingwall they have chosen is close to the site of previous similar ventures that were refused or withdrawn.

The application also includes access tracks, battery energy storage system, anemometer mast, substation, control building, and ancillary infrastructure.

E Power have named the project the Abhainn Dubh Wind Farm, and have earmarked land 1850m north-west of Kaytoo on the Heights of Dochcarty.

E Power’s scoping exercise involves consulting various interested bodies, and both Scottish Natural Heritage and the RSPB remark on previous applications.

SNH’s report opens: “The proposed development site partly overlaps with the formerly proposed Clach Liath Wind Farm, which was refused consent by the Highland Council in February 2013.”

And the RSPB responded: “Thank you for consulting RSPB Scotland on the above scoping report.

“RSPB Scotland is supportive of the development of renewable energy, but wind farms must be carefully sited to avoid negative impacts on sites and species of conservation importance.

“We are aware that the site boundary overlaps a number of other refused or withdrawn wind farm applications such as the Clach Liath Wind Farm, Clare Wind Farm and the Torranen Sleibh single turbine.

“Overall, we are happy with the content of the scoping report and welcome the fact that the developer intends to consult relevant organisations on ornithological matters, including RSPB Scotland.”

Both SNH and the RSPB go on to outline their views that include some concerns.

A campaign group Strathpeffer and Contin Better Cable Route intend to object.

Although set up to oppose a line of giant pylons proposed for their area, member Dan Bailey said they have a view on a windfarm for that area of Ben Wyvis as they are concerned about the impact of so many renewable plans coming to the Highlands – which he said will require more pylons.

Mr Bailey said the group was aware of previous wind farm applications in that area and added: “I don’t think many people have seen that anything has changed from previous applications and certainly nothing that would count in its favour.”

He thought there was a lack of a government planning framework for such renewable applications, and looking at them “piecemeal” was leading to the “gradual industrialisation of the Highlands and Islands.”

Mr Bailey added: “We don’t object to renewable energy but believe we are getting more than our fair share. Offshore makes sense but smaller onshore wind farms are causing a lot of damage to our environment and to the tourist industry.

“The views of Ben Wyvis are iconic and defines that Ross-shire area, but a wind farm there is saying ‘Welcome to the Highlands… here is our industrialisation.’

“Our existing economy will be trashed tourist-wise.”

E Power Ltd has been contacted for comment.

Source:  By Neil MacPhail | 28 July 2023 | ross-shirejournal.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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