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Lorries cause loads of problems for Caithness woman as they thunder past her home

By Gordon Calder

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Barbara MacKay outside her home at Westerdale.
Barbara MacKay outside her home at Westerdale.

Timber lorries are causing concern for a Caithness woman who says she has endured years of disruption from the vehicles thundering past her house.

Barbara MacKay, who has lived at Westerdale for 15 years, claimed pictures had even been knocked off her walls when the trucks travel past.

And she said it made using the single-track road south of Halkirk a nerve-racking experience.

Mrs Mackay accepts that the operators have “contracts to fulfil” but is concerned at what she describes as “an ongoing problem”.

She said: “For the last few years we have been subject to lorries moving logs from Altnabreac and now Braehour Forest. While I am aware that this is a business, I was under the impression that the lorries are only meant to be running between 7am and 7pm, and that they are meant to drive at 15 miles per hour through Westerdale.

“For a while this was happening after complaints were made, but recently they seem to be ignoring this.

“Each time they pass my house, if I am watching television the signal is disrupted. Once or twice, a few years ago, a picture jumped off the wall when these lorries passed by.

“If you happen to be outside and they are coming through at speed it is a very nerve-racking experience. This is a single-track road and there are no footpaths. It takes away the pleasure of being out on the road. It is a scary prospect.”

Mrs MacKay, whose home has double-glazed windows, says the lorries have on occasions operated late at night. To start with they came from the forest at Altnabreac, but logging seems to have finished there and now they are travelling from Braehour Forest, near Halkirk, she said.

“I don’t want to blame any of the drivers, but the people who employ them should be aware of the rules. I am in awe of the skill of these truck drivers and know they are only doing their job, but whoever is in charge of the contract must look into this and stick to the rules,” said Mrs MacKay, who thought that more than one firm was involved in transporting the logs.

She added: “When I was on the phone to someone recently they asked, ‘What on earth is that noise?’ It was two lorries passing by. It is not acceptable to have them disturbing the peace from possibly 6am through till 10.30pm. Please, whoever you are, consider the residents.”

Highland Council said any potential breaches of planning conditions can be reported to them.

A spokeswoman said: “We welcome the reporting of potential planning breaches by members of the public. There is also an important role for the public in alerting us to any problems.

“Anyone who wishes to report a breach of planning control can do so via the council’s website and online form at www.highland.gov.uk/report or by contacting planning and building standards – 9am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday – 01349 886608, and on Monday via email at eplanning@highland.gov.uk.”

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