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Landscape Impact of Wind Farms

Posted on 15/02/2018 by James Lithgow

Much is made of the landscape impact of wind farms. The Allt Dearg and Srondoire Community Wind Farms fund a rolling program of environmental and landscape improvement works as a condition on their planning consents. These works help mitigate the more distant impact of the turbines in the landscape.

As part of their planning consents the wind farms entered into a long term Landscape and Habitat Enhancement Plan (LHEP).  The plan’s objective is to improve the local landscape and environment for wildlife.  The aims were agreed with the landowners and Scottish Natural Heritage, and the work is funded by the wind farms.  These projects include the replacement of commercial conifer plantation with native woodland around the shores of Loch Caolisport that lie within the South Knapdale National Scenic Area, the eradication of Rhododendron Ponticum (a highly invasive weed) and encouragement of water voles in the Stronachullin Burn area, the restoration of the upland peat bogs around the turbines, the restoration and maintenance of the traditional roadside dykes within the National Scenic Area, and the encouragement of endangered Black Grouse through specific land management.  These projects deliver no commercial benefits and would otherwise be totally uneconomic.

James Lithgow of Ormsary said:" The B8024 to Kilberry and on to Tarbert has been called the most beautiful road in Britain, over 8 miles of this road run through Ormsary, most of this within the National Scenic Area.  I doubt many of those enjoying the views along this road ponder how the absence of overhead wires and brutal road signs, the well tended roadside dykes, fences, fields and family homes are paid for.  Those who object to wind farms might be surprised to learn that the high standard of landscape management at Ormsary and Stronachullin is largely paid for by these very wind farms. The LHEP has successfully delivered the first round objectives, and we are now moving on to new projects including the repair and restoration of sections of the traditional road side dykes that will further preserve the quality of the drive along the Kilberry Road and provide additional local employment.  The removal of the SSE overhead power lines between Ardishaig and Lochgilphead has been an unexpected landscape bonus of the Allt Dearg project "