By Gordon Calder
A plan to create another wind farm in the Reay area is “completely unnecessary”, according to a local campaigner.
Brenda Herrick hit out this week after a proposed development was outlined to Highland councillors at a north planning committee meeting.
Drum Hollistan Renewables LLP wants to construct seven turbines each with a maximum blade length of 125 metres to generate up to 20 megawatts of electricity.
The wind farm would be built 2.1 kilometres west of Reay adjacent to the A836 in an area that was described by planners as “sparsely populated”.
The company would construct access tracks, turbine foundations and transformer plinths and enclosures as well as an electric car charging point and recreational walking routes.
The developer submitted a pre-application notice to the local authority outlining its plans on Tuesday. Members were asked to highlight any material issues they wish to be brought to the attention of the company before the submission of the application for planning permission.
The 224-hectare area has already seen one application for use as a wind farm refused by Scottish ministers. Special areas of conservation are located nearby.
Mrs Herrick said: “A further wind farm in this area is completely unnecessary. Strathy North Wind Farm has to date been paid over £13 million in constraints [to switch off], Baillie Wind Farm has been paid over £3 million. We are told the electricity from Limekiln will be transmitted to Norway via cable as it cannot be used here. Despite this, and the huge opposition to this wind farm, a seven-turbine extension is proposed.
“Armadale Wind Farm, consisting of 23 turbines 180 metres to tip in length, is proposed just west of Strathy North. Strathy Forest [13 turbines, 180m] and Strathy South [39 turbines, 200m] are also in planning.
“Why do we need Drum Hollistan, which will doubtless apply later to increase the number of turbines since the original application was for 17? These constraints payments come from our bills via wind farm income. Does any of this make sense?”
Local residents are likely to be unhappy at the prospect of another wind farm in an area which they have dubbed a “ring of steel”.
In November, protesters in Reay voiced their anger at the prospect of new developments at Limekiln and Drum Hollistan.
According to the developer’s website: “Drum Hollistan Renewables is looking into the feasibility of developing a wind farm on the Sandside Estate near Reay, Caithness.
“Initial feasibility studies realised great potential for wind energy production on the estate and encouraged the business to work on developing a proposal that is both sensitive and appropriate to the local area.”