Strathy Wood

Tagged with: Casework status: Open Casework type: Energy Megasites: Strathy Site designations: Ramsar site Site designations: SAC Site designations: SPA Site designations: SSSI
David Douglas (Conservation Scientist) heads up a team looking into the effects of a wind farm on Golden plover Pluvialis apricaria, Sutherland, Scotland


Strathy Wood is an 18-turbine wind farm proposal by E.ON which is sited on blanket bog, partly within plantation forest on blanket bog, partly on open ground. 

Like SSE's two schemes – the consented 33-turbine wind farm at adjoining Strathy North and nearby Strathy South, for which an application for 39 turbines has been submitted – it has the potential to impact adversely on populations of several key breeding bird species.

RSPB Scotland has objected to this application. 



Why is it worth fighting for?

We are concerned about the likelihood of adverse impacts on populations of a suite of birds which are qualifying features of the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Protection Area (SPA) which almost surrounds the site. 

Species affected

These include breeding red-throated divers, hen harriers, greenshanks, dunlins and golden plovers. By law, a high standard of certainty of an absence of adverse impacts is necessary before such a development proposal can be consented. 

The threat posed

Tree removal to facilitate the development is likely to be necessary which will help restoration of bog habitat but the frequency of bird collisions with turbines and their displacement of birds nesting on nearby open ground are potential grounds for concern. 

We are particularly concerned about turbines proposed on areas where publicly-funded tree removal has already taken place to restore blanket bog, as they will prevent the realisation of this aim.

 Dunlin with summer plumage in grass

How you can help

If you’ve only got a minute

Please add your name to our petition encourage Scottish Ministers to refuse consent to the Strathy Wood wind farm proposal

Say ‘No’ to a new wind farm at Strathy Wood

If you've got ten minutes

It would be very helpful if you could make your views known to the Highland Council, who will soon be making a decision on whether to object to the proposals. The recommendation of the Highland Council will carry considerable weight when the Scottish Government comes to make its decision.

Write to: quoting Ref 13/04469/S36 asking that your email be treated as a response to this proposal.

To boost the power of your objection, please forward your response to the Scottish Government at

Sending your email

Please include a name and address with your submission otherwise it will not count – don’t worry, your address/email address will be hidden on any website where responses are displayed.

A couple of tips:

  • Be polite and succinct – your letter is far more likely to be read if it's under one page of A4
  • Make your point clear – in this case your objection to a wind farm at Strathy Wood – and personal. Explain why you think this particular wind farm should not be consented, further endangering the birdlife and bogs found here and why it matters to you, especially if you live in the area.

Thank you for your support - your voice really does help make a difference. 

More detail

You can find official documentation on the application on the Highland Council website.

Our position

Extensive coniferous plantations at Strathy, largely on blanket bog, have led to a reduction in the bird interest of the area as trees have grown and the canopy closed.

Restoration will bring back rare species

Rare, open-space birds have largely been replaced by common woodland species. However, habitats can and should be restored when trees are felled, either at crop maturation or prematurely, for conservation reasons.

Danger to birds

We objected to windfarm developments at Strathy North and Strathy South which will potentially lead to collisions of birds utilising the area and are likely to prevent recolonisation by open-space birds once trees are removed and bog habitat restored. 

We are concerned that the Strathy Wood proposals will be similarly damaging and so have objected.


  • July 2015
    We maintained our objection to a modified, 18-turbine proposal.
  • February 2014
    We objected to a 26-turbine proposal.
  • August 2011
    In our scoping response to a 28-turbine proposal we repeat our concerns.
  • September 2004
    We express concerns informally on a 20-turbine proposal here called Strathy Forest.


RSPB Scotland strongly supports the development of appropriately sited renewable energy projects. However, these developments should not be permitted to damage Scotland's most important wildlife sites, including the blanket bogs of Caithness and Sutherland in which this proposal is located. PDF, 142Kb.

RSPB response to amended application for 18 turbines at Strathy Wood

Letting explaining why RSPB Scotland objects to this proposal. PDF, 1.0Mb.

Response on Electricity Act 1989 - Section 36 Application for the proposed Strathy Wood wind farm