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Acheilidh Wind Farm project manager dismisses 'misleading' claim over visuals

By Caroline McMorran

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The project manager of a planned wind farm in the Rogart area has dismissed claims that visuals put on display at a community consultation event last week were “misleading”.

Energiekontor UK is working towards lodging a planning application for the 79.2mw Acheilidh Wind Farm, to go on open moorland some 7.6km south-east of Lairg and 1150m south west of Tigh an Alt, Acheilidh, Rogart. Battery storage of 5mw capacity is also planned.

The planned 79.2mw Acheilidh Wind Farm comprises 12 turbines of up to 230m high.
The planned 79.2mw Acheilidh Wind Farm comprises 12 turbines of up to 230m high.

The wind farm was formerly know as Lairg III and 12 turbines of up to 230m high are proposed – a reduction from the 20 turbines originally planned.

Rogart Community Council chairman Frank Roach earlier this year warned that the development would have a bigger impact on households in the Rogart area than others in the vicinity - namely the existing Gordonbush Wind Farm, its extension and Kilbraur Wind Farm.

Rogart Community Council chairman Frank Roach. Picture: Gary Anthony.
Rogart Community Council chairman Frank Roach. Picture: Gary Anthony.

Energiekontor held a drop-in session at Pittentrail Hall last Wednesday, November 8, at which wall charts, maps and photographs of the planned wind farm were on display. Previous exhibitions took place earlier this year in January and May.

Kirsty Gunn, who went along to the session, said: “Residents agreed the material had been designed to make the industrial scale development look as attractive as possible.”

Ms Gunn added: “There are already multiple turbine developments all around the area near Acheilidh.”

But project manager Calum Morrison dismissed the claim. He told Ms Gunn that a private engineering professional services firm WSP had been contracted to generate the images.

Local residents turned out in good numbers during the four-hour public consultation session.

Michael O’Reilly, Inchomney, leader of the K2 Action Group which successfully fought against the planned South Kilbraur Wind Farm, said: “These exhibitions are held by developers just so they can say they have undertaken a public consultation.

“But in reality, they don’t want to listen to us. These energy companies think they can do what they want.”

Energiekontor is in the process of completing an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and says it should be in a position to submit a planning application to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit later this year or in early 2024.

The Energy Consents Unit is the responsible authority for all wind farms above 50mw but the local authority is a statutory consultee.

A survey link to give feedback on the planned development can be accessed here: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/F7N6p2d

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