Renewable energy company to submit 'more robust' application for 12-turbine wind farm near Melvich
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The renewable energy company behind a proposed wind farm near Melvich has withdrawn its planning application and vowed to submit a new, "more robust" one.
Statkraft's plans for the 12-turbine Ackron Wind Farm were submitted to Highland Council early in 2021, having been scaled down from a previous proposal and moved further inland.
The company is seeking to resolve "a small number of concerns raised by some consultees" but says it still believes the site has "excellent potential for a wind farm".
In an update for local residents, Statkraft's senior project manager Maya Hernes wrote: "We are grateful for the continued support for our proposed Ackron Wind Farm from Melvich Community Council, the Melvich SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) and a great number of residents and businesses in the area.
"As a responsible developer, we place emphasis on being a good neighbour and developing projects that are in harmony with their surroundings.
"Since our planning application for 12 wind turbines was validated by Highland Council more than 12 months ago (in January 2021) we have had ongoing engagement with consultees, including Highland Council, about our application. This has focused on how we can resolve a small number of concerns raised by some consultees.
"We have now come to the conclusion that to fully address these concerns the best course of action is to withdraw the current application and submit a new, revised application. It is disappointing that this will have a delayed impact on our timeline. However, having reviewed the options carefully, we consider that this will ultimately minimise the environmental impact, thereby maximising the project’s chance of success.
"We still strongly believe the site has excellent potential for a wind farm. A new application will retain all of the commitments made to the local community councils and residents, particularly relating to community benefits and sensitive construction traffic plan. We are committed to the site, the project and being a good neighbour to local communities.
"We will continue to keep the local community updated either in person, by email, post or on our website www.ackron-windfarm.co.uk
"We thank everyone for their support and look forward to developing an even more robust Ackron Wind Farm application."
At the time the planning application was lodged, Statkraft said community benefit from the wind farm would amount to more than £7 million over the course of three decades.
If approved, the wind farm will be located around two kilometres south-east of Melvich and the turbines will have a maximum height of 149.9 metres to blade tip. Statkraft estimates it will generate electricity equivalent to the demand of 45,800 homes each year, with up to 49.9MW installed capacity.
The project will generate funding of around £240,000 annually to benefit the community, equating to more than £7.2 million over the 30-year operating period.
The company first proposed a 14-turbine scheme in June 2019, but removed two wind turbines after responses from the community and statutory bodies.