Strathy Wood Wind Farm is an application for 13 turbines sited on peatland within Caithness and Sutherland Flow Country.
In 2013 E.ON submitted an application to the Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit for a wind farm of 26 turbines. RSPB Scotland objected to the proposals because of concerns regarding adverse impacts to protected birds and sites. The proposals would have resulted in the construction of turbines and access roads within the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands SPA (which is a protected area for internationally important populations of birds) and Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands SAC (which is protected for its amazing peatland habitat).
In 2015 E.ON submitted further information to try and address the issues raised by consultees. They reduced the number of turbines from 26 to 18 and all turbines were removed from the SPA and SAC. However, SNH asked for further information and objected to the proposals. Although we welcomed the reduction in turbines, we maintained our objection due to the risk to protected birds and habitats.
Further additional information was submitted in July 2019. The proposals have now been reduced to 13 turbines, although the turbines are larger models. On 19 September 2019 we submitted a letter of objection maintaining our concerns regarding unacceptable impact on the Caithness and Sutherland SPA. The impact of the proposal in addition to the windfarms which were granted at Strathy South and Strathy North is especially worrying. The current application site is between the two already consented windfarms and would result in an almost continuous barrier for some key bird species, such as red throated divers.
In late 2019 the applicant submitted more information about what they think the impacts will be on red throated divers. They shared this with NatureScot, who then withdrew their objection in December 2020. Unfortunately, this new information has not allowed us to withdraw our objection and we still have concerns about how these birds will be affected by the proposal.