After several months of no reportable activity one or two items of interest have recently appeared. The first was the refusal of the Lowther Hills application by the Scottish Government on the grounds of an “unacceptable impact” on the landscape. Whilst this application was not of any direct interest to the NEMT, the grounds for refusal were. However, the NEMT is aware that wider discussions reviewing the grounds for refusal or amendment of wind farm applications are taking place. These may impact such as World Heritage sites, National Nature Reserves, Wild Land Areas and Historic Battlefields. It is estimated that by 2025 the maximum tip height of the latest generation of wind turbines will exceed 300m (higher than the Eiffel Tower) but they will have an output of 13-15MW compared to 2005 when the maximum tip height was approximately 175m and the output was approximately 4MW. The bigger turbines in the future are so high that they may require lights on top under aviation lighting regulations with the associated light pollution issues.
A new application for a second wind farm (Corriegarth 2) at the existing Corriegarth Wind Farm in the Monadhliath has been submitted. Following the NEMT policy which acknowledges the necessity for wind farms we did not object to the proposed development subject to the deletion of three turbines which would have a direct visual impact when viewed from the Munros and Corbetts to the north, south and east because of their elevation.
A second submission supporting their first submission has been submitted by Glendye Wind Farm Ltd. We are aware that the papers and objections to the application are being gathered together for consideration in the next stage of the application process and we expect this to take place in the near future.
A summary of what is proposed is as follows. It covers 1457 hectares (ha) and is located on the Fasque and Glendye Estates approximately 2 km from Fettercairn and 12 km from Strachan. The summit of Clachnaben is 4 km to the north of the site boundary and the Cairn o’ Mount road (B974) 2.7 km to the east. The proposed main access track is the closest point to Fettercairn in the easterly direction.
The application is for the installation of 26 wind turbines each with 3 blades with a maximum tip height of 149.9m. The maximum anticipated output of all 26 is 104MW. The large permanent concrete base footprint of each turbine and the associated construction crane hard standing area will require a permanent land take of 4.69ha with an additional temporary land take of 4.63ha during construction. Each turbine has an associated transformer adjacent to it. Additionally, there will be a substation and control building compound where transmission to the national electricity network takes place. It is proposed to connect the turbines to the substation using underground cables. There will also be 3 permanent anemometer masts.
Some 20km of access tracks linking the turbines will be required and a 11km main access track linking the site to the B966. It is these tracks that are the largest component of the permanent land take at 22.2ha. There is additionally a temporary land take of 14.3ha identified but some 8ha of this is from the euphemistically called “borrow pits” used to supply some of the construction materials. The construction of the tracks and the working of one of the “borrow pits” will require approximately 1.22ha of woodland to be removed which it is intended to replant locally.
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