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Details to be unveiled on proposed wind farm for Dava Moor with 185 metre high turbines

By Gavin Musgrove

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More details for plans for a new wind farm with towering 185 metres high on the Dava Moor are to be unveiled next week.

Fred Olsen Renewables is behind the proposals first announced in February to develop Lethen Wind Farm around 10 kilometres north-east of Grantown.

The proposed new wind farm on Lethen Estate would generate up to 112MW of electricity from its 19 turbines.

If approved, the development could lead to a whopping £19 million being given to surrounding local community projects over the course of the wind farm's lifetime.

A live and interactive chat event will take place next Monday (August 30) from 5pm to 7pm at www.lethenwindfarm.co.uk and two public exhibitions with pre-booked timeslots are to be held.

The renewables energy giant has said that its proposals to develop Lethen Wind Farm will include a commitment to supporting local residents to reduce their energy bills.

Fred Olsen Renewables has said the energy efficiency programme has been devised after consultations with the local community and will be the first of its kind in Scotland and an integral part of their proposals.

A spokesperson said: "Fred Olsen Renewables has developed the programme with the intention of making it easier for people to consider how they heat their homes, switch to a green tariff or explore installing insulation in their own home."

The programme will focus on providing hands-on advice locally and include:

* employing a local energy efficiency officer;

* helping to address fuel poverty and energy efficiency in local households;

* identifying and supporting those living in fuel poor households;

* help to bring forward energy efficiency measures for individual households; and

* supporting a community-wide energy conservation strategy.

Julie Aitken, Project Manager at Fred Olsen Renewables, commented: “We are really pleased to be coming forward with this innovative energy efficiency programme.

"It is very apparent that there is a significant appetite across local communities to address the challenge of energy efficiency and rising energy bills.

"We are confident that Lethen Wind Farm can help to join the dots, and that the project will help communities to play their part in Scotland’s nett zero transition.”

The site for the proposed development is close to the existing Tom nan Clach wind farm which sits between the communities of Glenferness, Grantown and Tomatin.

But the cash windfall promised by developers was described recently as 'bribery' by one seasoned anti-wind farm campaigner.

Pat Wells, of Strathdearn Against Windfarm Developments, said: “Unfortunately, rural communities are being bribed by community funds. You wonder what they will do with all these millions.

“Wind farms are anything but green energy – they damage the ecology and landscape which has been there for millions of years.

"They also adversely affect wildlife and community spirit – communities that are awash with cash no longer need to hold the bring and buy sales, concerts and coffee mornings which brought people together and were part of rural life.”

Tom nan Clach was approved by the Scottish Government in 2013, despite Highland Council rejecting the plan following a vigorous campaign by protesters from Dava and the Strathdearn Against Windfarm Developments (SAWD) group.

It was completed in 2019.

The annual community benefits from any wind farm built at Lethen would be shared between community council areas within a 10 kilometres radius of the site including Grantown, Strathdearn, Cawdor and West Nairnshire and East Nairnshire.

The public exhibitions will take place at Carrbridge Village Hall on Tuesday 31st August, from noon to 7pm and at Fornighty Hall in Nairn the next day from noon to 7pm.

Slots for the public exhibitions can be booked by emailing communities@fredolsen.co.uk or texting or calling 07435763900

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