Fears increase in turbines will industrialise Dava Moor
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An anti-wind farm campaigner has warned the Dava Moor is in danger of becoming an industrial landscape after the latest application to extend the Tom nan Clach wind farm.
Pat Wells, of Strathdearn Against Windfarm Developments, said the news of the plan to extend Tom nan Clach on Cawdor Estate with a further eight turbines in addition to the existing 13 turbines had come as no surprise.
“When Tom nan Clach was rubber-stamped by the government despite objections from Highland Council, it was the start of a slippery slope,” she said.
In addition to the latest application for Tom nan Clach, which became operational in 2019, Fred Olsen Renewables (FORL) announced plans in February for 20 turbines producing 112MW of electricity on neighbouring Lethen Estate with turbines towering to 185 metres compared to the existing turbines which are 125 metres.
Mrs Wells said: “I believe the additional turbines planned for the Tom nan Clach extension are also higher than the existing ones.
“These turbines are already visible from the A9 near Tomatin and sadly Dava Moor, which is a very special place, is being transformed into an industrial landscape.
“It’s completely ruined the skyline from here and Lochindorb with its castle ruins, which was a very special place for visitors.
“There’s no words to express the horror people think about.
“There are some estates who are quite ethical and conversation-minded, but the vast majority just see pound signs and local communities don’t object because they get the ‘bribery’ money from the wind farm trusts.
“But we will oppose this latest application and I hope Highland Council does as well.”
Wind farm developer Infinergy has applied for a scoping opinion from the Scottish Government for the extension to Tom nan Clach.
The developer is in a joint venture with Lord Cawdor, known as Nan Clach Extension Limited.
The application will be for the erection of eight wind turbines (producing 38.4MW) and associated infrastructure at Cawdor Estate and Lethen Estate, approximately 8km north-east of Tomatin.
The application will propose to use the existing access tracks to the existing wind farm which produces 39.1MW.
Esbjorn Wilmar, managing director of Infinergy said: “We are confident, based on the findings of the Scottish Government Reporter at the first Tom nan Clach appeal process, that there is landscape capacity sufficient to absorb an extension to the operational Tom nan Clach Wind Farm.”
He added that there also was grid capacity available.
Cash coming from the wind farm has been paid to eight community charitable organisations, some in Cawdor and Glenferness set up to handle the money, and it is likely this will be increased by the introduction of the eight additional turbines.
The FORL project creates an annual income of £560,000 to the trust funds.
Mrs Wells acknowledged locals would benefit financially from the extended wind farm if it goes ahead.
“Unfortunately people just think of the money,” she said. “But it’s not green energy. It damages the ecology and landscape which has been there for millions of years.”
Although she feared the application would be rubber-stamped, she vowed it would not stop the protests.