Our Proposal – Our Partners

The proposed wind farm is situated on the Sallachy and Duchally Estates in Central Sutherland, and represents a potentially significant economic boost to the local area. The two estates jointly employ nearly 60 local people and are key to tourism and land management in the area. Our investment in the estates will allow each of them to create local jobs and we will use local suppliers during the construction process.

Sallachy Estate

Sallachy has two holiday cottages, one lodge and around 6000 hectares of FSC certified woodland. This enables the estate to employ five people; one part time cook, two part time cleaners, one part time administrator and one full time employee. The estate uses local contractors for building and grounds work and local suppliers where possible. The estate’s income is generated from a variety of activities – forestry, agriculture, fish farming, deer stalking and holiday lets.

Duchaly Estate

Balnagown’s Duchally Estate has nine holiday lodges which provide a substantial economic benefit to the area. The estate employs 2 full time and 3 part time and seasonal staff from Balnagowan’s total of 32 full time and 16-20 part time and seasonal staff. The estate is also a member of the Oykel fishing syndicate, which employs a further two full time staff. The estate manages the land on an ecologically sound basis. One way in which they do this is through their sustainable deer forest. Furthermore, the estate is in the process of devising new facilities to produce
high quality venison for guests and the local market, starting in the Autumn. There is long term forest management plan in place and four new planting schemes for native woodland. The Duchally Estate also runs a popular tourist attraction at the Falls of Shin visitor centre.

Supporting The Local Economy

The income from the Sallachy Wind Farm will encourage the estates to diversify their activities, becoming more self sufficient and creating numerous jobs. This is important in ensuring that the jobs created will be supported over the the long term.

Iain Thomson, Manager of Sallachy Estate, recently wrote a personal letter to the local and national media.  The full letter is below;

20 May 2013

Dear Sir,

I read with interest and some anger your report (18/05) of the proposed wind farm  developments at Glencassley and Sallachy in Sutherland.  

It is quite clear that SNH and the other two environmental NGOs who are objecting are not really in touch with local communities and local people. I am amazed that they think that these wind farm developments will not bring a positive economic effect to the local communities because of the loss of tourism revenue! 

Despite repeated studies demonstrating that  tourism is not negatively affected by wind farm developments they repeat the myths. If they would like to visit Lairg to have a look at the chronic decline of the village they will see that serious inward investment is essential and that tourism has not and will not provide this. 

It is extremely unlikely that anyone will lose their jobs at these environmental NGOs if these wind farms go ahead but it is almost certain that in the short/medium term I will lose mine. That one job may not mean much to anyone sitting in an office in Edinburgh or Inverness but the harsh reality for this area is that it will mean that the local school will lose 2 children – out of a total roll call of 31 –  the local nursery will lose 1child and local shops and services will not have our custom. At least three part time positions, employing local women, will be lost and my partner’s part time position will be lost. 

This is my personal situation and it can be repeated to some extent for many others. I am angry that my opportunity to earn a living to support my family is being denied by organisations and individuals who do not have to live and work in this community.

SNH state that they are in favour of renewable  energy developments including onshore wind but want to protect ‘wild land’. They say that the developments should be in the right place and always talks about determining each wind farm application based on its own merits. 

If that is the case then as the Sallachy Wind Farmsite already includes two SSE hydro power stations, tarred access road and all the associated infrastructure including electricity substation and transmission infrastructure as well as an emergency service and O2 telecoms mast then it is not ‘wild land’ and on its merits, the Sallachy proposal would be one of the most suitable sites in Scotland.

I would urge our local politicians to look at the hard facts and see that the Sallachy Wind Farm development is not only on a suitable site but  is vital in helping to achieve the social and economic viability of the local community.

Yours Sincerely,

Iain Thomson

Manager, Sallachy Estate