By Sue Restan
The number of turbines planned for a Highland windfarm has been almost
halved after locals objected to the scheme during public consultation.
Renewable energy company RES initially wanted to build 25 of the 443ft
machines on Culachy Estate, between Invergarry and Fort Augustus, above the
A82 Inverness to Fort William road.
It today revealed that its latest plans include increasing the height of
the remaining turbines, but it has not said by how much.
One of the main concerns raised at the public exhibition RES held in Fort
Augustus in March this year, was the views of the proposed Culachy Windfarm
from “key areas of interest” in Fort Augustus.
The company today said it had made significant changes to the project,
which involved reducing the number of turbines to 13.
It claims the changes would also mean it would not be visible from the
centre of Fort Augustus.
However, locals believe RES may apply for an extension if it gets planning
permission for the project in its current form.
Gerry Worth, a cafe and gift shop owner from Glenmoriston, is concerned
that the development could put people off visiting the area, which would
affect his and other tourism-related businesses in the area.
He said: “Reducing the number of turbines is exactly what I expected to happen.
“It’s the usual trick that windfarm developers use. They reduce the number
of turbines, but, as soon as the get planning permission, they will put in
an application for an extension.
“It might not be visible from Fort Augustus now but, when they put in for
an extension, it will be visible again.”
The energy company said it had reviewed the comments made by the community
and, as a result, made major changes to the number, height and locations of
the proposed turbines, but it would not provide a revised plan.
RES development project manager, Alan Macintyre, said: “We are pleased to
be able to respond to the comments from the community and that, crucially,
there will now be no visibility from key areas of interest in Fort Augustus.
“We look forward to continuing our consultation process on our plans for
Culachy and will be holding another public exhibition towards the end of
RES estimates that, over its life time, Culachy Windfarm has the potential
to provide £5.5million in community benefits to the closest communities.
An RES spokeswoman said: “We have increased the height of the turbines,
but, by moving the positions and reducing numbers, we have been able to
achieve the aim of no visibility from Fort Augustus.”
She added that the company was a responsible developer and said it
currently had no plans for an extension to the site.