Planners are recommending that no objections should be made to proposals to expand two wind farms on the Cairngorms National Park Authority’s doorstep but with one major caveat.
They have said if the Lethen wind farm gets the go-ahead at Dava Moor then the expansion of Tom nan Clach should not be allowed as it will have too much cumulative impact on the northern boundary of the national park.
Developer Infinergy wants to add seven more turbines with a maximum height of 149.9m along with associated infrastructure to the south of the current site. The development north-east of Tomatin already has 13 turbines.
The CNPA’s planning committee is also being asked when it meets tomorrow whether to object to substantially revised plans for the expansion of the Corriegarth wind farm in the Monadhliaths at the north west edge of the national park.
Both wind farms proposals will be determined by Scottish Government Ministers.
CNPA planning officer Nina Caudrey states in her split recommendation for the Tom nan Clach expansion that there should be no objection as the project stands but that should change depending on a separate wind farm bid for the neighbouring site.
Ms Caudrey states: “The introduction of the proposal alongside Lethen would reinforce wind farm influence in the area and erode the perception of natural landforms and wildness dominating.
“The resultant cumulative effect would be the experience of wind development encroaching on the context of the national park in this area…
“NatureScot advice is that the proposal itself, when viewed as an extension to and in combination with the operational Tom na Clach wind farm, would not result in significant cumulative effects on the special landscape qualities.
“However, when considered in combination with the at application stage Lethen wind farm, significant adverse cumulative effects on the surrounding hills and wildness special landscape qualities would be experienced from along the ridgeline of the surrounding hills which form the northern extents of the national park.”
The proposed extension intends to make use of the existing infrastructure for the Tom nan Clach turbines where possible including the site entrance and access track from the B9007. Around four kilometres of new track would be required to instal and maintain the new additions.
The nearest turbines would be five kilometres from the national park boundary.
The Corriegarth 2 Wind farm Ltd application was considered by the CNPA committee in April, last year.
Members then made no objection to the application for 16 turbines 149.9m in height but changes are now proposed.
Ms Caudrey (above) states: “As a result of other consultee responses, a number of revisions have subsequently been proposed including removal of two turbines, the relocation of eight turbines, reduction in length of new access track and changes to the ancillary infrastructure.
“The revised development would now comprise 14 turbines of the same tip height.”
The proposal is to continue to encircle the existing Corriegarth turbines some 15kms north-east of Fort Augustus.
The existing Corriegarth wind farm has 26 turbines at a blade tip height of 120m. The nearest turbine would be approximately 10kms from the closest part of the boundary of the national park boundary.
Concluding that no objection should be made, the report states: “Overall, the magnitude of change would be medium. The effects on the special landscape qualities would be moderate, being localised and limited to a small number of hill tops on the national park boundary at a distance of 10 to 15kms in an area already influenced by wind farm development.”