WKN AG, one of Europe’s leading and most experienced renewable energy companies, is disappointed by the decision of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to object to their proposed Sallachy Wind Farm project near Lairg in Sutherland.
WKN AG recognise that Scotland has the best wind resource in Europe and as such Sallachy is an attractive proposition for investment from the company. In particular this project represents a inward investment into Scotland in excess of £100m of capital Investment, much of which will be available to be spent locally with Scottish companies and contractors.
The Windfarm is planned to be situated on two notable Highland Estates – Sallachy and Duchally – that between them employ over 50 key workers who live and work locally. Duchally Estate is part of the wider Balnagown Estate which includes the Falls of Shin visitors centre which attracts in excess of 125,000 unique visitors to the Sutherland each year. The windfarm will greatly assist economic diversification both for these estates to ensure a sustainable future and that of the wider Sutherland area.
WKN AG is involved in active discussions with the Lairg, Creich and Ardgay communities on a significant community benefits package. This package will amount to a community benefit fund of at least £3,500 per MW generated equivalent to £230,000 per annum. This model may however be supplemented by a profit sharing scheme that would allow the community to share in the annual profits alongside WKN. This community benefit package will enable the local communities to deliver local projects that could include support for apprenticeship training, affordable housing, community transport and the variable local telecommunications infrastructure. A formal agreement is expected to be concluded in the near future.
Inga Schuster, Project Manager of Sallachy Windfarm on behalf of WKN said:
“The project team is in contact with SNH with regard to the ecological aspects of the proposal and we are confident that we will be able to supply the requested additional information to resolve any outstanding queries.
SNH has indicated Sallachy Windfarm is located in a Search Area for Wild Land (SAWL). For this reason a detailed assessment based on SNH guidance was submitted with our application. The windfarm is located in an area regarded by SNH as ‘compromised wild land’. The windfarm has been carefully designed to limit visibility from other SAWLs and to ensure that there is no visibility of the windfarm from the wild land in the north of Sutherland.
Our plans have virtually no impact on the special qualities that have lead to the designation of the Assynt-Coigach NSA.”
“As a former Scottish Energy Minister I find the stance taken by SNH today surprising as the plans for Sallachy Wind Farm have been drawn up in close consultation with them to avoid sensitive areas and other EU designated sites that might have adverse or irreversible impacts on local heritage or landscape. I hope that SNH will work in partnership with this developer to resolve any further issues they may have with the scheme. It is not clear to me the basis SNH have sought to bring forward this objection to the Sallachy project given the high number of projects already consented in the North Highlands and wider Highland region that are directly comparable to this project.”