Community Briefing/Project Update
On 17th October 2016 The Creag Riabhach Wind Farm was consented by Scottish Ministers under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 with deemed planning permission under section 57(2) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. In January 2017 the decision to grant consent was challenged in Judicial Review proceedings. The petition for review was refused by the Court of Session on 30th August 2017 and the decision of the Ministers to grant Section 36 consent and deemed planning permission was upheld .
CRWFL has been working hard to deliver the project as quickly as possible despite these events. We are now pleased to be able to provide this 23rd February 2018 up-date.
The deemed planning permission was granted subject to a series of conditions which must be discharged through The Highland Council. Some of the conditions require The Highland Council to approve details relating to the Wind Farm and its construction and operation before any physical works can commence. CRWF has agreed a methodology with The Highland Council Planning Department on how these pre-commencement conditions will be addressed.
The first pre-commencement condition to be addressed is Condition 6 which requires The Highland Council to approve the details of the turbine model to be installed. The selected turbine is the Vestas V112 3.6MW. The turbine will have a maximum tip height of 125m to comply with the planning permission, will have a hub height of 69m and a rotor diameter of 112m. The details of the selected turbine have been submitted to The Highland Council for its consideration and is available to view on the online planning register on The Highland Council website for the Creag Riabhach Wind Farm under reference 14/00004/s36.The Highland Council has confirmed its approval of these details and this approval will also be posted on the online planning register. This will now allow the remaining conditions to be dealt with in accordance with the agreed methodology for discharging the remaining pre-commencement conditions and CRWFL are currently working on these matters.
Due the time taken for the Judicial Review proceedings to be resolved it has been necessary to move the grid connection date back to April 2022 from April 2021. While this has caused a delay to the overall project it has allowed additional time for necessary plans to be put in place. CRWFL have been holding regular meetings with National Grid Electricity Transmission and the design work for the grid connection is progressing well. The wind farm will be connected into the new Dalchork sub-station with the timber pole overhead line connection proposed to run mainly within the FC land to the east of the main road. The grid capacity has also been increased to 79.2MW.
Agreement have been reached/concluded with FCS and Dalnessie Estate to use the forest haul road through Dalchork Forest for the delivery of turbines to site. A planning application to improve the forest haul road has been submitted to The Highland Council and is currently being considered.
Consultation with The Highland Council Roads Department is ongoing regarding works required to the A836. Surveys of the road have been completed and a number of bridges and passing places have been identified that will required strengthening or widening. Discussions are also ongoing regarding the road bond required to be put in place prior to works.
Due to the increase in capacity of the Vestas V112 turbine, the Community Benefit payment will also be increased to a total of £396,000. This sum will be split equally between the local community/Altnaharra Community Trust and the North and West Sutherland Community Trust.
The Altnaharra Community Trust is already in operation having received donations from CRWFL and other companies and as a consequence has recently been able to purchase the church building in Altnaharra. The community has great plans for the church and will continue to apply for funds from other sources until the wind farm is in operation and the Community Payments commence.
CRWFL is committed to the delivery of the project in line with the revised Grid Connection date. It is envisaged that construction works will begin on site in the Spring of 2020. Prior to any works on site a detailed construction plan will be approved by The Highland Council and information provided to the local community. CRWFL will continue to discharge the remaining conditions with The Highland Council in advance of the works starting.
A community liaison group will be established prior to any construction works in accordance with the conditions on the deemed planning permission. CRWFL anticipate that this will be established by the Summer 2018 and will include representatives from the local area and local Community Councils.