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Eday Islanders Campaign Against Proposed “industrial styled turbines”

Islanders in Eday are stepping up their campaign against a proposed windfarm.

Eday islanders are fully supportive of renewable projects. The issue is with this particular application, its location and the size of the proposed wind turbines.

The area circled in red is where the application if successful will see massive wind turbines dominating the southern coast of Eday including Greentofts Bay and Malt Barn Sands home to a permanent seal colony and otters.

Campaigners against the application say that noise and flickering from the wind farm will directly impact 31 permanent residences and will limit even remove access to a popular natural and cultural nature walk around Warness and over Ward Hill.

An archaeologist who has worked and lived in the island explained to The Orkney News that

“it is a unique area – even for Orkney with its internationally important archaeological sites – as it contains sites from at least the Bronze Age and probably earlier right through the Iron Age and Pictish eras, being the traditional site of the high status residence on the Island – the original Laird’s House (situated since the 18th Century at the other end of the island) – and possibly the location of the ‘missing’ Eday Broch and although more recent, it has an intact clearance landscape where a grid of land plots was created for the families moved off North Ronaldsay in the 19th Century.”

The petition has been launched by the ‘Eday Preservation Group Orkney’ .

Click on this link to access the petition: NO to the Neven Point Wind Farm on Eday

Alloa based, Greenpower, acquired the proposed Neven Point Wind Farm project this year. It intends to submit a planning application in December.  According to GreenPower they intend to offer shared community ownership in the project, and to provide up to £150,000 per year community benefit to be targeted at what the community identifies as its most important priorities.

Orkney company Aquatera and UHI’s Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology have also been involved in supporting project development and engagement work and Greenpower state that this will continue. Previous developer Dennis Gowland from ResearchRelay will also continue involvement with some advice on strategic grid related matters. The original proposal was for up to ten turbines, which subsequently was reduced to eight during scoping (a process that considers initial environmental effects), and the current proposal may be reduced further to six or seven based on the most up to date information.

GreenPower Director of Development, George Baxter, said:

“We are delighted to be developing the project, and to build on the work that has already been carried out over the last few years. The project has been making good pre-planning progress, with several iterations of design and layout to minimise any potential effects on the local environment. We look forward to working with the Eday community to develop the project responsibly, and in a way which will deliver tangible benefits to local people in the short and longer terms. GreenPower commits to working to provide positive benefits to the people and businesses of Eday as this is at the core of the way we work.

“We believe the project has the potential to be positively transformational for the future of Eday. In our engagement with local people to date, a significant and recurring piece of feedback is for the project to target funding and investment at local economic development. And there have been other proposals such as how the project might help to create a more resilient local smart grid, to support housing needs, to address fuel poverty, to generate and use hydrogen locally in farming, perhaps even to make renewable energy and a sustainable island something that can stimulate tourism. Lots of opportunities are possible, nothing is on or off the table at this stage, and we look forward to constructive discussions with the community at the drop-in session, and in the weeks and months to come.

“Climate change may be the biggest threat to humanity, but renewable energy is also one of the biggest opportunities for places like Eday with its rich natural energy resources to build a sustainable foundation for the future.”

The Neven Point Wind Farm intends to connect into the grid system in 2027 with export capacity of around 30 MegaWatts, which will support the most efficient use of, and justification for, the new 220 MW transmission link planned to the mainland, subject to the OFGEM needs case being satisfied which requires confidence that a strong pipeline of projects will be delivered. GreenPower

Click on this link to access GreenPower’s Plans: Neven Point Wind Farm

Each of the six wind turbines would be 180m in height (to blade tip), dominating the southern skyline of Eday hitherto framed by the shoreline and a slight elevation to some 101m. For comparison, the existing community wind turbine on Eday is nestled in the hillside and stands only 67m in height while the Sanday wind turbines are 100m in height. NO to the Neven Point Wind Farm on Eday

The petition calls for the development to be stopped on the following basis:

  1. Health and wellbeing of Eday residents — the planned sites for the industrial styled turbines are within less than 0.9 miles (1.5 km) of thirty one permanent residences. This is significantly closer than recommended for wind turbines that are 180 m in height (Gillespies LLP, 2014). Noise, flickering and the visual intrusion present a real risk to the quality of life, health and wellbeing for these residences. The development would also restrict access to coastal walking routes, preventing residents and tourists from enjoying the scenery on Eday.
  2. Birds and Wildlife — Eday is home to a wealth of birds and wildlife that will be impacted by the wind turbines. Current assessments have not been sufficiently detailed to ensure that the wind turbines are not harmful to the natural environment on Eday. While the developer has done a survey on the above, the community has not been given enough time to organise an independent, neutral study of the same.
  3. Tourism and recreation — Visitors to Eday always highlight the beauty and tranquility of the island. The proposed development falls in close proximity to several B&Bs on the island and would dominate the skyline for visitors arriving on the island.If indeed they continue to visit at all.The blossoming tourist industry of Eday will be hurt by the development with a loss of income and development potential. OIC, HIE, SG and others recognise the critical value of tourism and economic diversification to our traditionally agricultural and remote island communities.  
  4. Infrastructure — Expensive remodelling of existing infrastructure requirements, to transport and install the wind turbines, will leave the island with a costly white elephant that serves neither the interests, needs nor desires of the broader community. The actual process of transporting and installing the wind turbines will result in disruptions to daily life on Eday for a prolonged period of time 
  5. Archaeology — A number of neolithic and other historical sites have been identified on Eday, contributing to the tremendous historical wealth of Orkney.The risk of a industrial scale development on known and yet-to-be-discovered sites devaluing these historical assets and resources should be fully and comprehensively considered.
Stone of Setter, Eday Image credit: Lis Burke

Fiona Grahame

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