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Virtual exhibition sets out plans for wind farm near Melvich

By Alan Hendry

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Statkraft senior project manager Lloyd Godwin.
Statkraft senior project manager Lloyd Godwin.

Energy firm Statkraft has opened a virtual exhibition to present its final proposals for Ackron Wind Farm, near Melvich.

The exhibition began today (October 20) and will run until November 10. It is being advertised in the local press, on Facebook and by direct mail to more than 600 households and businesses. This includes a freepost envelope and freephone number as an alternative to going online.

Access to the exhibition is by clicking the link on the homepage of www.ackron-windfarm.co.uk

Live Q&A chats are scheduled for November 4 and November 10, from 11am to 1pm and from 5pm to 7pm both days.

Statkraft first exhibited plans for a 14-turbine wind farm at Melvich in June 2019. "Site studies and feedback received led us to improve on this and we now present a 12-turbine project with changes that reduce the visual impact of the scheme, particularly from the coast, and the North Coast 500 route," the company said in a statement.

It has moved the access to the site from the A836 to the A897, so there is no access junction directly off the NC500 and there will be "minimal visibility of the site tracks from this tourist route".

Statkraft’s Berry Burn wind farm in Moray which has an extension in planning.
Statkraft’s Berry Burn wind farm in Moray which has an extension in planning.

The turbines have been moved further south and further inland, to increase the distance from the NC500 and minimise visual impact from coastal views, according to the company.

It has also reorganised turbines in a bid to minimise overlapping and outlier turbines.

Statkraft says it is working closely with Melvich Community Council and last week had a virtual meeting met with members to give an update and discuss how the impact of construction traffic can be minimised.

Statkraft senior project manager Lloyd Godwin said: “We believe this final scheme is a big improvement on what was originally presented to the community last year. By removing two turbines and locating the turbines further south we have been able to reduce the visual impact of the project from the coast.

"Our virtual exhibition will give people the chance to explore the changes made. I’m disappointed that due to Covid-19 restrictions we can’t actually visit Melvich again and meet with people face-to-face as we’ve done previously, but the upside of a virtual exhibition is that it can last longer and give more people greater opportunity to see our evolved plans.

"We are hopeful that our changes, showing sensitivity to visual impact and transport priorities, will meet with community approval.”

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