Published: 04/11/2016 13:48 - Updated: 04/11/2016 13:49

High price paid for community funds


SIR, The forecast community funds and inward investment from the Altnaharra Wind Farm may seem like manna from heaven but the price paid in local harm to wild land is much, much too high.

Don’t forget that these community funds are actually paid from everyone’s electricity bills, so we are being bought off with our own money.

Up to now, the Altnaharra Estate has not only been a good employer and neighbour but has also been a trustworthy custodian of the "wild land" in its ownership.

And that land is special. From Ben Klibreck, that lone munro at the heart of the wild land at the top of Sutherland, you can see round from Ben More Assynt, Ben Hope and Ben Loyal to the Orkneys, round to Morven in Caithness and even as far as Elgin and the tops of the mountains on Skye.

Utterly unique and why Scottish Natural Heritage designated it in 2014 as "Wild Land" that must be preserved untouched.

Very soon, if this project is built, all that will dominate the immediate views to the north west are 22 enormous wind turbines. This is an industrial scale development not a local community solution.

No amount of community funds can make up for that irreversible loss and visitors will prioritise the less spoilt west coast wild land. If the local inward investment really is, as reported, £9 million, then the consent must be worth several times that to Altnaharra Estate.

The Scottish Government’s decision to consent the Altnaharra wind farm against Scottish Natural Heritage’s objection is not only totally inconsistent with other recent wind farm decisions, such as Dunbeath, Sallachy and Glencassley, it is a mistake plain and simple.

Mike Geldard, Crask Inn, Altnaharra

Andrew Nicholson, Clebrig Farm, Altnaharra


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