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Double whammy for Caithness wind farm opponents

Artist's impression of a windfarm proposed for a site near Reay, Caithness resubmitted by Infinergy for the Limekiln Estate.
Artist's impression of a windfarm proposed for a site near Reay, Caithness resubmitted by Infinergy for the Limekiln Estate.

Wind farm opponents in Caithness have been dealt a double whammy in their long-time campaign to prevent their village being surrounded by hulking turbines.

Reay residents are preparing to protest tomorrow evening against plans to add seven turbines to the 21 due to go up a mile south of the village.

But they have now discovered that another developer is persevering with its scheme on Sandside Estate, to the west.

Objector David Craig said local people are furious about what they claim is a democratic ‘outrage’.

The two schemes were the subject of a public local inquiry which attracted hundreds of objections and a 1,500-strong petition.

Scottish Ministers approved the application by Infinergy and Boralex at Limekiln but rejected the 17-turbine scheme lodged by Drum Hollistan Renewables LLP.

Since then, seven new turbines are being proposed to go up on a neighbouring piece of forest adjoining Limekiln.

And Drum Hollistan Renewables has confirmed that is it planning to go ahead with a ‘significantly reduced’ proposal.

Mr Craig yesterday said local feelings about the Limekiln development are running extremely high.

“A lot of people are extremely upset about how it got the go-ahead.

“A previous public local inquiry into a scheme that was just about the same was rejected, yet this one gets the green light.

“And now they are talking about going ahead with another seven turbines – that is pure and utter greed.”

“People are up in arms – it’s a democratic outrage,” said Mr Craig, who is a member of Caithness Windfarm Information Forum.

Mr Craig said the plans to put up a further seven turbines is “rubbing raw acid in the wounds”.

Meanwhile he said the decision of those behind the Drumhollistan venture to look at going ahead with a downsized version was not unexpected.

The new proposal is to be unveiled at a drop-in session in Victoria Hall, Reay on November 28.

Limekiln project director Nick Sage defends the planned new extension as ‘an ideal location’ to generate more green energy and add to the community benefit fund.

Drum Hollistan Renewables meanwhile insists its revised lay-out can satisfy the concerns Scottish Ministers had about the initial scheme.

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