News

SNH objects to Dunmaglass windfarm proposals
19/05/2005
Issued: 19th May 2005

SNH objects to Dunmaglass windfarm proposals

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has submitted its formal response to the Scottish Executive on proposals for a 36 turbine windfarm at Dunmaglass near Loch Ness.

SNH has formally objected to the proposals on four counts. The first relates to concerns over the collision risk for golden eagles, which have been underestimated in the Environmental Statement. Even at the figures currently given SNH believes the impact on wider eagle populations are unacceptable.

The second is on the grounds that there is insufficient information in the Environmental Statement to determine the potential impact on other important bird species. SNH has advised that the development could have a significant impact on a wide range of species, including several listed under the EC Wild Birds Directive.

The third objection is because in SNH's view the impact on European protected species (otters, bats and wildcats) has not been adequately assessed.

And the fourth objection has been lodged on the grounds that there is insufficient information at this stage to fully assess the potentially significant impacts of the development on upland habitats particularly blanket bog and upland heath. Blanket bog is a priority habitat listed under the EC Habitats Directive, placing an obligation on UK authorities to secure its long term sustainability.

SNH has also advised that, with the proposed windfarm being relatively confined to the higher elevated, less accessible, areas, the landscape impacts are not significant. However, the organisation concluded that it would have a significant impact on the wild qualities of the area.

Area manager for SNH in east Highland, George Hogg, said: "We are disappointed with the quality of the Environmental Statement for this development. While the landscape and visual assessment is of good standard, the assessments relating to a number of important issues are inadequate, even though we have provided advice on these in the past. The risk of collisions by golden eagles, in particular, has in our view been significantly underestimated, and some complex issues relating to the ecology and hydrology of the upland habitats has been dealt with superficially. The developers themselves have recognised some of these inadequacies and have advised us that further information will be forthcoming."

Ends.

Scottish Natural Heritage is the Scottish Executive's statutory advisor in respect to the conservation, enhancement, enjoyment, understanding and sustainable use of the natural heritage.

For further information:
Calum Macfarlane, SNH Inverness, 01463 723106
Mobile. 07770 814206