A TEMPORARY bypass will need to be created on the A939 near to historic Castle Grant to accommodate the construction of a proposed wind farm on the Dava Moor.
Cairngorms National Park Authority members have agreed not to object to plans for the Ourack wind farm which is earmarked for a site 10 kilometres north of Grantown and immediately east of Dava itself.
Committee members were also informed at their latest meeting in Aviemore that the development –if approved by Scottish Ministers – would require a detour from the Grantown-Dava road for the huge lorries transporting turbine parts.
There are 18 turbines planned with a maximum height of 180m to the tip of the blade as well as the 16.7 kilometres of new track and other infrastructure and works including a substation, underground cabling and borrow pits.
It is expected that the proposed wind farm by Vattenfall would have an estimated total output of 105MW – enough to power around 64,000 UK homes.
CNPA planner Stephanie Wade said an abnormal load route appraisal had been undertaken on the wider road networks as part of the proposed scheme.
She said it identified the 'southern delivery route’ via the A9, A95, Grantown and the A939 to the site as the most suitable access route for abnormal loads.
She said: "The proposal includes the provision of road improvements to facilitate the delivery, emergency maintenance and future decommissioning of the turbines."
The proposed bypass route at Castle Grant is some 400m in length with the northern section utilising part of an existing farm track and its existing access to re-join the A939 just north of East Lodge.
It will be blocked off to all other traffic.
Ms Wade stated in her report: "The bypass is solely for use of all AILs (Abnormal Indivisible Loads) under police escort for a period of up to three months.
"Post-delivery, the supporting documentation confirms that the road improvement works will be largely removed.
"Access onto the bypass route from the A939 will be closed, with the gates removed, track removed and reinstatement of the post and wire fence.
"The cutting through the embankment is proposed to be retained to enable emergency turbine maintenance during operation and to minimise the extent of works required should the bypass routes need to be reinstated for decommissioning phase.
"Decommissioning is anticipated to take place after 35 years of operation."
There will be a minor intrusion onto the Dava Way but planners said it would not affect the overall enjoyment of the long distance route. The proposed Ourack Wind Farm sits in the Drynachan, Lochindorb, and Dava Moors special landscape area (SLA).
The nearest turbine will be around 2.1km from the national park boundary.
There are numerous other existing and consented wind farms in the surrounding area as well as several proposed wind farms in the planning system.
Ms Wade said that the application was considered to be in accordance with the new national planning blueprint.
It has opened up more wildland sites for potential wind farm developments to help tackle the climate crisis.
CNPA head of planning Gavin Miles (above) told the meeting: "The initial lay-outs were significantly worse. The developer has made a reasonable amount of effort to move the turbines further away from the park’s boundary and to locations where they are less visible."
Vattenfall has proposed a community benefit fund –which they have said will be worth an annual £525,000 per annum – to aid local projects and initiatives.