Scaled down plans for wind farm near Grantown to be submitted later in 2021
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Revised plans for a wind farm near Grantown are expected to be lodged with Scottish Ministers towards the end of this year, the developers have said.
Swedish stated-owned energy giant Vattenfall has reduced the number of turbines from an initial 50 to 18 in its latest proposal for the Dava Moor site.
The company has been carrying out studies to explore the potential to develop the wind farm at Ourack around six kilometres north of the Strathspey capital.
The project was subject to an initial consultation in 2015 and comprised a design of up to 50 wind turbines on a site extending to the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park.
A Vattenfall spokesperson said: "As the project has developed, further landscape review work established that the site should be reduced in scale and set back from the Cairngorms National Park.
"Turbines have been positioned to reduce impacts on the Strathdearn Hills and to protect the special landscape qualities of Dava Moor.
"In early 2020 an indicative layout of up to 27 turbines at up to 180m blade tip height was subject to EIA Scoping engagement with consultees.
"Further design reviews to address design advice from consultees, avoid significant landscape and visual effects on key receptors and minimise peatland disturbance have resulted in the latest proposed layout which comprises 18 turbines at up to 180m blade tip height...
"The latest design has reduced the number of turbines and located them in an area at the north corner of the site, reducing visual impacts from public routes over Dava Moor, the Dava Way and the A939 corridor.
"Appropriate mitigation measures to protect local wildlife are being developed through the EIA and opportunities for peatland restoration within the site are also being considered."
Vattenfall has said that following further design work, completion of an Environmental Impact Assessment and a second public exhibition, they now intend to submit the wind farm application to the Scottish Ministers later in 2021.
The spokesperson said: "Vattenfall launched the first public consultation on their plans for the Ourack Wind Farm on December 7, 2020.
"This included a virtual exhibition room with electronic feedback forms and two live online events for members of the public to ask questions of our project team.
"We have now collated all feedback and comments.
"Vattenfall is committed to an ongoing conversation with the community."
The energy firm has started the grid connection application process and information on the route of the grid line and said this will be included in future exhibitions before submission to the Scottish Government.
The company has said it will consult extensively with the local community to tailor benefits to the needs and priorities of residents and with local businesses.
The spokesperson said: "A community development strategy is being developed through engagement with local community representatives to maximise local social and economic benefits from the project...
"Vattenfall is keen to work closely with local businesses in order to maximise the opportunities for local contracts, jobs and employment.
"We would like to hear from any local businesses which have an interest in getting involved with Ourack Wind Farm."