A huge electricity substation will be built in the countryside near Lairg, despite years of protests and expressions of concern about road safety by villagers.
However, following the intervention of Highland councillors, developer SSEN Transmission will have to liaise with locals over a creating a foot/cycle path during the construction period.
Dalchork substation, which is required to connect the local wind farms to the grid, will cover more than seven acres, with a mast rising to 80ft and an electrical infrastructure rising to 42ft.
The complex is less than two miles from Lairg on the A836, a single-track road well used by locals, but also popular with tourists, including cyclists and motorcyclists.
Two residents from the Lairg area attended a special hearing to determine the application yesterday, and were given the chance to voice their concerns.
Crofter Alasdair Marshall, who will see the substation 900 yards from his home in Saval, said the developer had not considered the dangerous junction and bendy road involved during the construction period.
He said: “There will be 170 more HGVs in Lairg, a burden within the village.
“Safety concerns haven’t been addressed, nor the pressure on the road infrastructure.”
The villagers want to see a foot/cycle path built to help families making their way to the primary school.
A motion by councillor Raymond Bremner led to approval being granted, subject to the prompt formation of a community liaison group to discuss the potential of a foot/cycle path alongside the road.
Resident Emma Armstrong said: “I could feel councillors’ frustration that they can’t legally enforce the cycle path before construction even begins.”
A spokesman for SSEN Transmission said: “As a responsible developer, we are committed to doing all we can to minimise the impact of construction on the local community.
“We look forward to setting up a community liaison group to help us manage all local impacts during the construction phase.
“As part of this, we will work with the community to further explore their request for a cycle path and footway.”