Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Inquiry launched into controversial plans for third wind farm development around scenic far north crofting community

Crofts in Strathy, Sutherland.
Crofts in Strathy, Sutherland.

A probe has been launched into the creation of a third commercial wind farm in a far north crofting settlement.

RWE Renewables UK is seeking the go-ahead to erect 13 turbines in a coniferous forest, about five miles south of Strathy in north Sutherland.

The village already neighbours SWE’s 33-turbine development at Strathy North while the firm has consent for a further 39-turbine venture at Strathy South.

One development is already overlooking Strathy

The public local inquiry into the Strathy Wood proposal has been triggered by an objection lodged by Highland Council.

It claims the 62 megawatt scheme, which is earmarked on ground between the two SSE wind farms, would adversely affect a Peatlands Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Fears turbines could spoil scenery for tourists

The council is also concerned that the turbines would spoil the view of the area, including for tourists on the adjoining North Coast 500 route.

At a hearing today, RWE expert witness John Mason disputed the council’s views on the impact the 590ft high turbines would have on the landscape.

He said: “The turbines are large scale in terms of man-made machinery but this is a very, very large scale landscape that is capable of absorbing them.

“I don’t believe there is an instance where the scale of the turbines would appear to be out of scale with the landscape.”

Argument that turbines would not be ‘out of keeping’ with surroundings

Mr Mason, a landscape architect, did not believe that the 230ft greater height of the Strathy Wood turbines to the existing ones at Strathy North would be out of keeping.

He added: “The turbines would be larger but generally speaking it’s often barely possible to see a distinction.”

He believed Strathy Wood would appear from a distance to be an extension to the existing wind farm.

Mr Mason accepted that without the other two wind farms, Strathy Wood would have to be treated as “an entirely novel” feature on the landscape.

He agreed with QC James Findlay, representing the council, that the turbines would extend across the valley of the River Strathy, to the east of the strath.

But he described the valley as a “relatively low-key” feature and did not think the landscape would be significantly affected.

Mr Findlay responded: “There will be a turbine in line with the hill in the distance, with the tip of the turbine blade exceeding the height of the hill.”

Could warning lights at the top of structures distract drivers?

Mr Mason replied: “There  will be a difference of opinion between two people looking at  a wind farm.

“My view is that my assessment is a fair one and the judgement I have reached is reasonable. Clearly Highland Council takes a different view.”

Asked about aviation warning lights needed on  top of the turbines, Mr Mason said their impact can often be overstated.

He said: “They are controlled by sensors that dim them to 10 per cent of full operating brightness when visibility is good.

“They only are at full power when visibility is poor.”

He added that when they are on at night, few people are about and he was confident they would not be a distraction for motorists.

The on-line inquiry is due to run until Friday.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]