Path clear for construction to start on Strathy South Wind Farm after Ministers give go-ahead to taller turbines
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A bid by power company SSE Renewables to increase by 65m the height of turbines on its planned Strathy South wind farm has succeeded.
Scottish Ministers have agreed to grant a variation to the existing planning consent, allowing the height to be raised from the initial proposed 135m to 200m, which will make the turbines the tallest in the area.
SSE Renewables has welcomed the decision, with project manager Jon Soal saying it reflected the “incredible levels of support” for the development from the local community
Construction is now expected to begin next year.
Strathy South is located to the south of SSE Renewables' operational Strathy North Wind Farm, approximately 12km to the south of Strathy.
SSE Renewables gained consent for a 39-turbine scheme in 2018 following a public inquiry.
A fresh application was lodged in September last year seeking permission to vary the heights and also to make changes to access tracks to avoid areas of deep peat.
Highland Council agreed in June this year not to object to the revisions but said its support was subject to four turbines being removed, which it was felt would alleviate the visual impact.
SE Renewables agreed to reduce the turbine numbers to 35. The scheme will have a generating capacity of up to 208mw.
Strathy South has widespread local support with three north coast community councils in favour - Strathy and Armadale; Bettyhill, Strathnaver and Altnaharra; and Melvich.
When Highland Council met to decide it stance on the higher turbines, a number of local people showed their backing for the development by holding placards stating that the wind farm would create local jobs, aid peatland restoration and provide community benefit funds.
SSE Renewables will host Meet the Buyer’events for the local and Scottish supply chain to maximise the opportunities available for local businesses to work on the project.
Mr Soal said: “We are confident that Strathy South will build on the success and benefits of our existing Strathy North site.
“As a responsible developer, we listen carefully to people’s views to ensure that we consider local needs and priorities wherever possible.
“Projects such as Strathy South represent an excellent opportunity to bring long term economic benefits to businesses and communities across Sutherland and the wider Highland region, whilst supporting our transition to net zero.”