Only 12% of locals oppose giant Moray West Windfarm project

The Moray East windfarm will be based 13 miles off the coast
Fraserburgh was chosen as an operations base for the Moray East windfarm

Only a fraction of local households oppose a mammoth Moray Firth wind project, according to an independent poll.

A new survey carried out by market research firm Ipsos MORI found that of those households who will have a view of the Moray West Windfarm, only 12% actually oppose the development.

The poll’s publication comes on the eve of a Highland Council recommendation that an objection be raised against the project over concerns it could “dominate the horizon”.

Commissioned by the Moray West Offshore Windfarm, the poll also found support for the development at 43% and those who had “no view either way” at 41%.

Ipsos MORI surveyed 500 residents, 80% of whom can currently see the 84-turbine Beatrice Offshore Windfarm construction from their property.

It added that 54% of those who can see the £2.6 billion Moray Firth project support it, compared with 40% of those who cannot.

Plans for the 85-turbine Moray West Offshore Windfarm will be considered this week, where planning officers will claim the site “is damaging” to north-east sea views.

But, according to the North Planning Applications Committee report, none of the 12 Highland community councils who have been consulted object to the plans.

The venture is due to begin construction in 2021 and could provide power for more than 900,000 homes.

A Highland Council spokeswoman said yesterday it was “not appropriate” for the council to comment on the poll until the report is presented at today’s North Planning Applications Committee meeting.

But added that the council still planned to recommend to its members to “raise an objection” to the development as set out in a report published last week.

A spokesman for the Moray West Windfarm project described the figures as “very, very encouraging”.

He added that developers EDP Renewables “wanted to find out” the feelings of those living within around 30 miles of the development towards the giant wind project.

Despite consulting with a number of nature and environmental groups, Highland Council’s recommendation will focus on the “loss of uninterrupted views” to the area.

The Moray West application sits with the Scottish Government, but Marine Scotland will grant consent or otherwise, based on advice from the council.

Highland Council said its objection relates to “the detrimental impact” on panoramic views and the planned position of the turbines.

It added that if developer EDP Renewables does not mitigate the windfarm layout, “it will continue to be unacceptable”.