‘Unacceptable’ Ben Wyvis windfarm plan blasted

Wind farm proposals near Ben Wyvis have been called a 'completely unacceptable escalation' of turbine development in the area. Picture: TSPL
Wind farm proposals near Ben Wyvis have been called a 'completely unacceptable escalation' of turbine development in the area. Picture: TSPL
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The latest plan for another windfarm near an iconic Munro mountain in the Highlands has prompted climbers to brand it a “completely unacceptable escalation” of turbine development in the area.

Developers ABO Wind UK is seeking consent for five turbines, three of 410ft blade to tip in height and two of 361ft, next to Ben Wyvis.

Their Woodlands Wind Farm project is proposed on a site between two hills near Dingwall, next to the 3,432ft-high peak.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland has objected to Highland Council.

Chief Officer David Gibson added:”Placing large vertical structures with moving blades between the very strong horizontal line of the coast and the undulating form of the ridges on the Ben Wyvis massif would introduce an intrusive and thoroughly discordant visual element into the landscape.

“That impact is completely unacceptable. We have also taken into account the fact that there is already an operational turbine at Dingwall with three more approved in the same area as the Woodlands proposal and another at Culbin Farm which is at the scoping stage.

“This application is an acceleration of that process of development, increasing the number of turbines applied for and increasing their size. If approved, this is something that other developers would undoubtedly seek to exploit, given that there are no clear plans in place for the eventual number of wind farms or turbines to be permitted here, or anywhere else in Scotland.

“The MCofS is generally supportive of the Government’s commitment to increase the production of energy from renewable resources, including onshore wind, and we have objected to relatively few proposals.

“However, we have major concerns at the increasing demands that proposals for wind farms are making on Scotland’s highland landscapes.”

The MCoS that while of limited impact on views from the summit plateau of Ben Wyvis, the turbines would have a “significant impact” on views to the iconic Munro, which, uniquely on the east coast, rises straight from the sea to over 3000 feet.

ABO Wind UK has recently held public exhibitions of the scheme in the area.

Clark Crosbie, Project Manager, ABO Wind UK said, “From the beginning of looking at this project, we were very much aware of the potential impacts and we very much recognise the sensitivities relating to Ben Wyvis.

“This has significantly influenced our whole approach to the design of the wind farm and we believe that, by reducing the number of turbines from six to five, along with the hub height reduction of two of the turbines,we have used the topography of the existing land form around the site to minimise visual impacts.

“The development site is situated on the north eastern slopes of Cnoc a’ Bhreacaich.

“The geography of the site means that the nearby hills of Cnoc Mhàbairn, Cnoc Tigh an Fhirich and Cnoc Ravoch combine with the more mountainous landscape to the north to create a hollow in the landform that is relatively well screened from the wider landscape. “We now look forward with interest to the outcome of the current consultation led by The Highland Council on our planning application.”