SALLACHY WIND FARM – ACTUAL VISUAL IMPACTS AND NSA

PRESS RELEASE

24 MAY 2013

Following Tuesday’s (21 May) meeting of the Highland Council’s North Planning Applications Committee, where the committee voted in favour of raising no objection to WKN’s Sallachy Wind Farm near Lairg in Sutherland, a variety of misinformed media statements have been made.  These have largely related to the visual impact Sallachy Wind Farm would have and on its location.

 

WKN would like to clarify these points for the avoidance of this misinformation spreading.

 

Visual Impact

 

It has been claimed this week by an SNH spokeswoman that from the top of Ben More Assynt there would be a 360 degree view of wind farms if Sallachy Wind Farm was consented.  This is an inaccurate and under researched statement.  In fact, no wind farms lie to the south-west, west, north-west or north of Ben More Assynt, whether in scoping, application or operational phases.


Cumulative Map

*Information provided by Highland Council, May 2013, and is correct to the best of our knowledge at this time.

 

The normal radius used for calculating cumulative impact of wind farm sites is 35km.  Within this radius of our site it is possible to see operational wind farms to the east and south-east (Achany, Rosehall and Kilbraur).  There are a further five in application stages (Glencassley, Dalnessie, Braemore, Glenmorie and Coire Na Cloich).  If consented, these would lie to the east, south-east and south of Ben More Assynt.

 

This is also the case for the viewpoint from the top of Ben More Assynt.  There are no wind farms to the north, south-west or west, i.e. towards the National Scenic Area and the sea.  The views that draw people most to the area remain untouched.

 

Oliver Patent, Head of International Developments at WKN, said:

 

“We accept that our proposals bring turbines closer to the munro, but we believe our design takes the landscape into account and any visual impact caused by the turbines has been minimised through this careful process.”

 

National Scenic Areas (NSA)

 

The NSA that is usually referred to with respect to Sallachy Wind Farm is the Assynt-Coigach NSA which lies west of the Sallachy site boundary.  The border of the NSA is approximately 2.5km away from our planned development.

 

National Scenic Areas (NSAs) are international designations that were introduced to protect a certain landscape.  Each NSA has a list of qualifying features (“special qualities”) which are the reason behind the designation and on which impacts need to be avoided in order to maintain the quality of the landscape.

Assynt-Coigach NSA Only (1)

 

The part of the NSA that faces our site is made up of a mountain massif of which Ben More Assynt is the most prominent mountain.  For this reason the views from Ben More Assynt (over 5km away) were considered very important in our assessment.

 

However, it is important to state a few points:

 

a) Ben More Assynt is not one of the seven special qualities defined in the designation;

 

b) The massif itself shields the remaining NSA from view, i.e. from within the NSA there are very limited locations from where a view is theoretically possible.  In practice it will be even less; and

 

c) The views from Ben More Assynt are only visible when reaching the summit.  Along the most popular route up, which is from the west, the wind farm will not be visible.

 

Oliver Patent, Head of International Developments at WKN, said:

 

“Despite other comments in the media, the view of turbines is limited to a certain perspective on the summit.  Human activity has long been introduced in this sector of the view point through the Glencassley hydro-scheme and the houses and villages in the background.

 

“The most attractive part of the view lies to the west, towards the NSA and the sea beyond, which will remain without turbines should Sallachy Wind Farm be consented by the Scottish Government.”

 

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