Flow Country wind farm opposed

Wood Sandpiper is a frequent visitor to the Flow Country on passage.Photo: Steve Young (www.birdsonfilm.com).
Wood Sandpiper is a frequent visitor to the Flow Country on passage.Photo: Steve Young (www.birdsonfilm.com).
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) have formally objected to a controversial proposed wind farm at Strathy South, in the heart of the Flow Country in Caithness and Sutherland.

The 47-turbine  development in Caithness and Sutherland is likely to have a devastating impact on a range of bird species that are key features of the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Protection Area (SPA). SNH, the Government’s statutory nature conservation advisers, submitted their objection to the proposal following an objection lodged by RSPB Scotland on October 25th.

In their objection, SNH expressed concern the proposal could harm the rare blanket bog habitat of the Flows, designated under European and Scottish law as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and may also have an impact on rare species including Red-throated Diver, Hen Harrier, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper and Golden Eagle.

SNH have indicated that the removal of a large number of turbines may be required in order to make the proposals acceptable. RSPB Scotland estimate that this could effectively reduce the size of the development from 47 turbines to just four.

Aedán Smith, Head of Planning for RSPB Scotland, said: “This objection from SNH really highlights just how sensitive this site is to wind farm development. In their comprehensive response, SNH point out that without major changes and reductions in scale this proposal could cause unacceptable harm to no less than seven of Scotland’s most threatened bird species. Hopefully SSE will now acknowledge this and abandon these proposals for this very sensitive and special place, right in the very heart of the internationally acclaimed Flow Country.”