Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  

 

3 Wind Turbines For Community Group In Caithness Get Planning Permission

19th June 2012

The north Planning committee of Highland council agreed on Tuesday 19th June 2012 to grant planning permission for construction of a Community Wind Farm at Rumster Forest with Three 900 kW Wind Turbines, with a Height to Hub of 50m and a Rotor Diameter of 50 m, Formation of Access Track and Erection of a Switchgear Building and Associated Cabling.

The applicants were Latheron, Lybster and Clyth Community Development Company formed a few years ago following the set up of an Initiative at the Edge project. The project has carried out a number of community activities and smaller projects to improve the area on the east of Caithness that had a falling population, falling school rolls and markedly growing number of elderly people. It was recognised that if the community were to be able top continue to have future a source of revenue was essential to help with further projects and job creation.

The application was for the development and operation of a wind farm consisting of three wind turbines with an overall generating capacity of 2.7MW. The wind turbines to be employed are from a choice of three machines - Enercon E44 900kW or E48 800kW, or alternatively the Gamesa or Vestas 850kW. The proposal has considered a generic wind turbine of 80m to tip for the purposes of calculating the degree of potential impacts. A new section of access track, a switchgear building and both underground and above ground cabling to link with the national
grid is proposed. This proposal represents the first 'Community' renewable energy development of this scale in Caithness.

The site is located in a clearfelled area at Gaultiquoy within the wider Rumster Forest situated approximately 7 km to the north west of the village of Lybster in east Caithness. The site is accessed directly by forestry track from the C1053 Lybster-Achavanich road which in turn is accessed from either the A9 (T) at Achavanich or from the A99 (T) by Lybster. A roadside public car park is located adjacent to the start of the forestry track at Rumster Forest.

The access route for the turbine components will be via the A99 from Wick Harbour to Lybster and thereafter the C1053 to Rumster Forest and onto the existing forestry track. A short section of new track will be required to link the site with the existing forestry track, widening the existing track to 4m and minor works to the Smerlie Road/A99 road junction are envisaged works to facilitate access to the site.

The landscape is upland in character with areas, outwith the commercial coniferous plantations of Rumster Forest, in heather and rough grass. The nature of the area is remote with no nearby houses or steadings. The general landform continues to rise to the north west to the summit of Stemster Hill whilst the shoulder of land on which the proposal is made eventually falls beyond the application site to the north east. Ground conditions on site are peat overlying rock with surface vegetation becoming re-established following clear felling although the general area remains characterised by brashings and tree stumps making general access to/across the site, on foot, difficult.

There were 10 objectors to the proposal some of whom are members of an anti wind farm lobbying group. None of the statutory consultees raised any objections although Scottish Natural Heritage asked for mitigations -
The proposal lies approximately 350m from the Shielton Peatlands Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which is a component of the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA).

It is also noted that the qualifying interests of the East Caithness Cliffs SPA may also be ffected.

SNH note concerns regarding potential pollution arising from the development which require assessment to this end a pollution prevention plan is advised to avoid impacts to watercourses and supported species.

In consideration of bird species it is advised that works are completed outside of the bird breeding season. Thereby avoiding disturbance to ground nesting birds and damage to their nest sites.

Mammals of particular note include Water Voles, Otters and Pine Martins. SNH note licensing requirements regarding works on site owing to the presence of Water Voles and list a number of mitigation methods to be employed.

In consideration of avoidance of breeding seasons for Water Voles the period March to October inclusive is recommended. Other mitigation methods including re-routing of new sections of track, pollution prevention plans, tunnelling under watercourses and pre-construction surveys are advocated.

Impacts to Otters may be mitigated through a pollution prevention plan. Impacts to Pine martins may either be mitigated through construction works being avoided during the breeding season (April - July inclusive) or preconstruction surveys. Landscape and visual interests are appraised to the extent that SNH agree with the conclusions of the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) noting the adverse impacts upon; the Flow Country and Berriedale Coast Special Landscape Area; the Small Farms and Crofts and Moorland Slopes and Hills landscape character types and sequential cumulative impacts together with the Burn of Whilk
wind farm along the A99. SNH do not believe that the impacts are significantly adverse. It is noted with concern the repeated mention within the LVIA of scope for further development - the application is assessed as presented, comment should not be construed in excess of the current application.

An annex is provided by SNH appraising impacts to the East Caithness Cliffs SPA, Caithness & Sutherland Peatlands SAC and Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands SPA. In the main conservation objectives remain undiminished in respect of this development subject to the mitigation methods noted.

In the report the planning officer noted various points including the fact that there would be little affect from noise as the nearest dwelling was over 2 kilometers away from the turbines.

The planning officer pointed out to eh committee that a bond of one million pounds had been considered at an early stage. Vehicle movements and haulage of parts and materials has been raised as concern by the Roads Authority. Of particular concern is the C1053 Lybster-achavanich road which is subject to weight restrictions owing to failures of sections of this road in areas of underlying peat in 1996. This led to the consideration of a substantial roads bond of 1million. On further consideration of all the facts this bond had been reduced to 30,000.

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

26/9/2016
Changes to parking fine enforcement in HighlandThumbnail for article : Changes to parking fine enforcement in Highland
The Highland Council will be taking over responsibility for enforcing parking restrictions across the whole of the Highlands from Monday 3 October 2016.   Money raised through Penalty Charge Notices will be spent on maintaining this new service.  
22/9/2016
Council awards new ICT Contract To Gain £11 Million of SavingsThumbnail for article : Council awards new ICT Contract To Gain £11 Million of Savings
The Highland Council has awarded a 7 year ICT Services contract to WIPRO Holdings UK Ltd.   The Council has procured a cost effective, value for money, corporate Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solution that will deliver excellent operational performance and contribute to the continuous improvement of services.  
22/9/2016
Wick Campus Delay Until 2017
At a Wick stakeholders meeting held on Monday 19 September at Wick High School, representatives from Hub North Scotland and Morrison Construction gave an update on reasons for the delay and outlined a revised programme for the Wick campus delivery.   The meeting was chaired by Highland Councillor for Wick Bill Fernie who expressed the Council's disappointment at the delay, and re-stated the Council's priorities to ensure that the flagship facility is completed to the standard expected, and accepting handover only at that point.  
18/9/2016
Leader of The Highland Council writes letter to support Fort George
Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson (Independent Councillor) has written to The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Secretary of State for Defence, to express her concerns about the future of Fort George.   In her letter she said: "I am deeply concerned at the continued uncertainty around the future of Fort George as an active military barracks.  
17/9/2016
Council highlights changes to Public Entertainment licences
The Highland Licensing Committee has agreed changes to the activities which are required to have a public entertainment licence so the Highland Council is advising community groups, members of the public, event organisers, charities and businesses to make sure they are aware of the different requirements so not to face the disappointment of having their event or activity cancelled.   In particular organisers of public Hogmanay events are being asked to check if their event now falls within the revised definition and, if so, they are being encouraged to submit their applications early.  
17/9/2016
Council addresses issues with new Inverness Royal Academy
The Highland Council has informed staff, parents and pupils of ongoing issues with the new Inverness Royal Academy building and the actions being taken to address them.   The Council is working with, Hub North Scotland Limited, Morrison Construction and its sub-contractors, to resolve issues which include: problems with the school's gas installations and the impact this is having on some classes; intermittent power and ICT issues; and management of pupil flow during lunch breaks.  
17/9/2016
Environmental Health Service follows up on Errignton cheese ban
Officers from the Environmental Health Service have been contacting food businesses, retailers, suppliers and hoteliers across the Highlands following the Food Standards Scotland ban of cheese made by Errington Cheese Ltd, which has been linked to an E.coli 0157 outbreak in which a three year old child died.   The recent cheese ban relates to Dunsyre Blue, Dunsyre Baby, Lanark Blue, Lanark White, Maisies Kebbuck, Cora Linn and Sir Lancelot.  
16/9/2016
Council consults on decriminalised parking enforcement
The Highland Council is seeking public opinion on Draft Traffic Regulation Orders for the introduction of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) in the Highlands.   The Draft Traffic Regulation Orders are available now on the council's website at www.highland.gov.uk/parking www.highland.gov.uk/parking The public have until 30 September 2016 to submit any objections in writing to The Legal Manager, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX Decriminalised Parking Enforcement will allow responsibility for enforcing parking and waiting and loading regulations to be transferred from Police Scotland to The Highland Council.  
16/9/2016
Councillor Bill Fernie Endorses Support To Charities After Televisions Siezed
A number of televisions seized by Trading Standards have been sent to a local charity for recycling.   The televisions were amongst several items that Trading Standards Officers have seized over recent months.  
13/9/2016
School decisions to be taken at school level
Schools will be empowered to make more decisions about their pupils' learning, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said today.   In a statement to the Scottish Parliament Mr Swinney announced a major review into the way Scotland's schools are run, which places at its heart the presumption that decisions will be devolved to school level.  

[Printer Friendly Version]