Eurowind, the developers behind the Nathro Hill Wind Farm project, is seeking to address claims and ‘inaccuracies’ that have emerged in the press in recent weeks.
Nathro Hill Wind Farm is being developed by Edinburgh-based company Eurowind UK. Ian Lindsay, Development Director, states that all involved with Eurowind take their commitment to benefitting local areas we work in very seriously.
He said: “As such we have spent a lot of time in discussions locally around what matters to local people and what is needed.
“This is an ongoing dialogue which is now being translated into action. We are about to begin work with Angus College in supporting a new course they are running for apprentice engineers and we will be joining a working group around how to take forward broadband provision.
“On top of this we are investigating how to install broadband alongside the wind farm cabling itself. When consent to develop Nathro Hill Wind Farm is granted we will not be sitting on our hands but ready to work with the community on building a future for the area”.
Mr Lindsay added: “We are disappointed that a number of inaccuracies are clouding what should be an informed debate about the wind farm. For example some objectors are ignoring the detailed evidence on birds and transport impacts.
“We also wish to address specific inaccuracies regarding impact on the River South Esk which the wind farm site does not drain into and will not be affected. We are happy to be scrutinised on any aspect of the project, but it needs to be based on facts and evidence. The Environmental Impact Assessment is rigorous and presents strong conclusions about the lack of impact on the local ecology or bird life. We have yet to see a proper challenge to the information presented in it.”
The company has responded in particular to comments made about the impact on Golden Eagles, fisheries, and transport issues, alongside claims made that community benefit commitments from Eurowind will not be delivered.
A company spokesman said: “Bird impacts were assessed in great detail for the site and potential impact was separately considered for each species.
“The assessment found that there would be no significant impacts on birds. In particular, impact on eagles and kites was found to be of a barely perceptible magnitude. The habitat management plan seeks to improve the ecological value of the land which the wind farm sits on.”
He continued: “The wider ecology of the Lethnot area has been considered since the earliest stage of the project and each aspect of the wind farm carefully designed to avoid impacts.
“The potential for impact on fisheries from the Nathro Hill Wind Farm was considered to be particularly low due to the development being predominantly on the ridge line and not upstream of designated watercourses.
“Normally, in such circumstances no surveys would be required at this stage. However Eurowind still commissioned fisheries surveys, including from the Esk Rivers & Fisheries Trust. The results show that impact on the local watercourses would be insignificant.”
He also addressed traffic concerns: “Studies on the impact of construction traffic and ongoing traffic from the operation of the wind farm concluded that work would only be required at a few points.
“Eurowind has already offered to work with the community on addressing these and additional areas of the local road network (which would benefit from improvement in any event).
“During the peak construction period there would only be nine HGV vehicles per day and Eurowind can time these to suit local needs. Construction traffic and the delivery of the turbines would be monitored and controlled via a Transport Management Plan involving residents, the Council and Tayside Police.
“The transport route is already used for timber extraction without undue impact and once Nathro Hill Wind Farm is operational it will contribute less traffic than current timber extraction. The site entrance would be before Glen Lethnot and so there would be no traffic impact upon the Glen itself.”
Ahead of this week’s Scottish Government consultation deadline on the wind farm planning application on August 29, Mr Lindsay added: “People often object to wind farms as they are going to be close to housing, but this site is high up in the hills, set well back from housing and tourism, with a good grid connection which does not require new pylons.
“Whilst the turbines are on a ridge line, the visual impact will be muted because of the distances involved, and absorbed by the scale of the landscape.