New Highland windfarm could deliver £3million economic boost says energy firm

An energy company has said that a new windfarm in Caithness could generate an economic boost of nearly £3million for the local area.

Cairnmore Windfarm would have up to 10 turbines standing 410ft tall and would be sited along the North Coast 500 tourist route. It would be within sight of the existing Baillie Windfarm near Thurso.

The Cairnmore site is on rising ground on the Hill of Forss, south of the main A836 and lies to the west of Thurso.

Energy firm RES plans to hold public exhibitions at the end of this month.

Highland Council’s north planning applications committee will receive a proposal of application notice at its meeting on Tuesday, which it is expected to note.

Giving details of the application to the committee, planning officer Ken McCorquodale said the site is “prominent to users of the north coast” route.

He added: “There is a large number of houses in the countryside which surrounds the site which could be significantly affected by the development. Within a 2km radius there are approximately 110 properties and within 1km there are approximately 60 properties.”

The proposed construction access is to be taken from the council maintained A836 Thurso – Bettyhill North coast road, with turbines (abnormal loads) likely to arrive via Scrabster Harbour.

Ruth Liddicoat, community relations manager, RES, said: “We are in the early stages of development and about to begin local consultation. Public exhibitions are being planned for the end of September and we look forward to engaging with the local community on the proposal and the benefits it could bring.

“The project has the potential to deliver economic benefit to the area of between £2.2million and £2.8million in the form of jobs, employment, and use of local services.

“Furthermore, the site has excellent wind resource and the wind farm would be capable of providing clean, green, renewable electricity for around 25-30,000 homes.”

Long-term Caithness-based industry watcher Brenda Herrick said: “It is just another one that will be on the North Coast 500 route and it will be visible from Thurso. You just get the impression they see a gap and think they must put another windfarm up.

“It is going to be awful for people living nearby. You just wonder when it is going to stop in Caithness.”