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    £48m benefit from offshore wind farm


    December 2, 2022 - John O'Groat Journal

     

      Highland Council’s north planning committee will next week consider whether to raise an objection to a proposed floating wind farm off the Caithness coast.

      Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm will comprise up to seven turbines close to Dounreay.

      Marine Scotland is consulting Highland Council under section 36 of the Electricity Act. The local authority’s planning report runs to 42 pages, with an environmental impact assessment outlining the "worst case scenario" for the development.

      The council acknowledges that there are "significant adverse impacts" on land and sea.

      Caithness West Community Council has objected to the plans on the basis that they leave the village of Reay "encircled" by wind farms.

      Several consultees have also raised concerns about the impact on local birdlife, including NatureScot and the RSPB.

      Meanwhile, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has objected on the grounds of the possible distribution of radioactive particles.

      However, taking all factors into account, council planners say that the environmental impacts can be mitigated. They say the wind farm could deliver a £48 million economic boost to Caithness.

      Planners have asked the committee to raise no objection to the proposal.

      Highland Wind Limited is looking to build up to seven floating turbines up to 300 metres (984ft) tall. These will be supported by seven floating substructures housing mooring lines, anchors and cabling. The array area sits 7.5km – 4.66 miles – offshore, with a substation onshore, close to Vulcan and Dounreay.

      If Marine Scotland grants consent, construction is likely to begin in 2024, with the wind farm up and running towards the end of 2026.

      Across its 30-year lifespan, the council report estimates £48 million in gross value added to the Caithness economy.

      Highland Wind has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Scrabster Harbour for construction, operations and maintenance support.

      Caithness West Community Council raised concerns about the impact on sea birds, north Caithness cliffs special protection area and the Sandside Bay SSSI.

      They also believe the wind farm will have a detrimental effect on local wild lands, especially East Halladale flows.

      North planning committee will meet on Tuesday, December 6 to consider the application.

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