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Sallachy wind farm developers to hold series of virtual consultation

By Alison Cameron

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Consultations to take place on wind farm proposal.
Consultations to take place on wind farm proposal.

WKN have submitted a Proposal of Application Notice to The Highland Council for a proposed wind farm on the Sallachy Estate, Lairg.

The project, with an expected layout of nine turbines and an output of between 30-50 MW will be located solely within the Sallachy Estate, 20km north of Lairg next to Loch Shin.

A series of virtual consultations have been organised.

Three local groups have indicated their support for the development.

WKN GmbH is a leading German wind energy company which has been working with the Sallachy Estate and its management on the Sallachy Wind Farm since 2011. They say they are committed to investing in Sutherland and believe the project represents a potentially significant economic boost to both the local area, by bringing investment and economic diversification, as well as benefiting the wider economic wellbeing of Sutherland.

Oliver Patent, head of UK Development, WKN said: “We believe passionately in the need for renewable energy but we are also acutely aware of the necessity for sensitive and sustainable development, which will involve and benefit the local communities surrounding the site. We are delighted to be working with the local communities of central and north west Sutherland (Lairg, Creich, Ardgay, Scourie, Kinlochbervie and Durness) and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make an annual award of £5000 per MW to the local communities for local development. We will also further ensure we provide a preferential bespoke Highland-wide local procurement policy which will offer local contractors advantages when tendering for contracts related to the wind farm to ensure as much economic benefit from the project is kept within the north Highlands.

"Additionally, we are in positive discussions with the local communities on the opportunity for them to collectively own up to 10 per cent of the equity in Sallachy Wind Farm. This would be a clear opportunity for investment, taken forward via the creation of a new special purchase vehicle (SPV) that would be wholly owned by local community trusts."

Kaye Hurrion, Lairg and District Community Initiatives said: "As the host community, we have been engaged with the developers on the wind farm and have gathered the opinion of local residents. We have long been in discussions around the benefits the development could bring to Lairg and have supported exploring shared ownership of the wind farm further. The economic benefits investing in the site could bring to the village could make a real difference."

David Watson, Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust said: "We have been working with WKN on the opportunities that shared ownership can bring. We have had several meetings since 2018 and WKN have agreed to offer the communities up to a 10 per cent investment in the project that could create significant economic opportunities for the communities of central Sutherland."

Neil Macdonald, North West Communities said: "We've been pleased to work with WKN to ensure that this project will deliver real benefits to the local communities. Our discussions around shared ownership have been particularly helpful and there is potential for this project to really deliver lasting benefits for the communities."

In light of COVID-19 restrictions, public consultation for the project is required to be undertaken virtually. WKN have organised a series of online webinars for the general public and close neighbours, which can be accessed through their project website. They have proposed two webinars on the proposed development overall and a further six tailored webinars to the six local communities close to the projects (Lairg, Creich, Ardgay, Durness, Kinlochbervie and Scourie), involved in the community benefit fund agreement. Two telephone conferences are also available for those with limited access to the internet. To attend one of these meetings, visit www.sallachywindfarm.co.uk where they will be broadcast live.

Telephone conferences will be held on the following dates:

● 13 July - 6pm-7pm - Introduction to Proposed Development

● 20 July- 6pm-7pm - Introduction to Proposed Development

The dial in details are: Dial: 03330 434351 and enter pin: 7745980

Web seminars for the general public will be held on the following dates:

● 14 July - 4pm-7pm - Introduction to Proposed Development

● 21 July - 4pm-7pm - Introduction to Proposed Development

Further Web Seminars for those in localities surrounding the project will be held on the following dates:

● 15 July - 4pm-7pm - for residents living within the Lairg area

● 16 July - 4pm-7pm - for residents living within the Creich area

● 17 July - 4pm-7pm - for residents living within the Ardgay area

● 22 July - 4pm-7pm - for residents living within the Durness area

● 23 July - 4pm-7pm - for residents living within the Kinlochbervie area

● 24 July - 4pm-7pm - for residents living within the Scourie area

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