Construction work on a major underground pipeline has ground to a halt, after a furious Angus farmer claimed contractors were destroying his land.
Work was stopped on the Seagreen windfarm pipeline, which runs through Inveraldie Farm on the outskirts of Dundee, when Gordon Beattie accused Roadbridge, the SSE contractor, of failing to abide by its contract and creating damage he says will take 30 years to repair.
The onshore cable route extends across 19.3km from Carnoustie to the proposed substation at Tealing and crosses 41 properties.
It is central to the £3 billion joint venture between TotalEnergies and SSE Renewables, which is scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2023.
Diggers are now standing idle, however, as Mr Beattie said he would only allow work to resume on the 1.5km corridor crossing his farm when weather conditions improve.
He has also warned other farmers to beware of the risks of agreeing to any major works on their land.
“They promise you the world, but make sure you have a good lawyer and land agent,” he said.
“We agreed compensation but we weren’t prepared for devastation like this and fully expected the work to be done during the drier summer months – but we should have got that in writing.
“Instead, work started then stopped, and now a bomb site would be tidier than the mess they’ve created.
“There are lochs in the field now.
“They’ve ruined my land for 30 years.”
The interruption to essential work comes in the week the first of 114 wind turbines was installed at the Seagreen windfarm, 17 miles off the Angus coast.
Seagreen Offshore Windfarm Limited said it isn’t in a position to comment on its relationship with individual landowners.
However, in a statement the company said: “Seagreen always seeks to engage positively with landowners and their representatives to support the successful delivery of the ongoing construction programme for this major infrastructure project.
“All construction works are carried out in line with the extensive consultation that we always undertake prior to any works commencing.
“As is required under our overall planning consent as well as any individual landowner agreements, Seagreen Offshore Windfarm Limited is obliged to reinstate any lands on which we undertake construction works to the condition in which we received those lands, and we fully intend to meet these obligations.”