Scottish Natural Heritage Opposition to planned wind farm maintained

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has confirmed it is maintaining its objection to a proposed 47-turbine wind farm near Strathy in Sutherland. The organisation has expressed concerns over potential impacts the development would have on bird species including Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, Red-throated Diver and Greenshank during the breeding season.

SNH has also asked for seven turbines to be removed from the proposal due to likely impacts on Black-throated Diver and Wood Sandpiper. The organisation has asked the developer, Scottish and Southern Energy, for more information needed to assess the impacts on internationally important blanket bog habitat and bird species. This further information may highlight the need for more turbines to be removed from the proposal.

Dave Mackay, SNH’s area operations manager, said: “Renewable energy can help tackle the effects of climate change. Our role is to provide information and advice to help decision-makers balance the needs of the industry with those of nature and landscape, and get the right developments in the right places. We have given advice to the Scottish Government on this case since 2007. In light of the potential negative impacts on both habitats and species of international importance, we are maintaining our objection. In the meantime we are continuing to talk with the developer about issues where we need further information before we can fully assess this proposal.”

RSPB Scotland have welcomed the formal objection of Scottish Natural Heritage to the proposed windfarm at Strathy South. Aedán Smith, Head of Planning for RSPB Scotland, said: “This objection from SNH really highlights just how sensitive this site is to windfarm development. In their comprehensive response, SNH point out that without major changes and reductions in scale this proposal could cause unacceptable harm to no less than seven of Scotland’s most threatened bird species. Hopefully SSE will now acknowledge this and abandon these proposals for this very sensitive and special place, right in the very heart of the internationally acclaimed Flow Country.”

Scottish Natural Heritage
Tuesday 3rd December 2013

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