Bid to extend lifespan of Novar wind farm lodged with planners
AN application to extend the life of a north wind farm for a further ten years has been lodged with Highland Council.
The development at the Novar Estate, near Evanton, was initially granted planning permission in 1996 for 34 turbines. The permission was for a period of up to 25 years, but current owners Ventient Energy now want to extend the site, until 2029. A further 16 turbines were added to the site in 2010 taking its generating capacity up to 53.8 megawatts, equivalent to powering more than 20,000 homes.
In papers lodged with the local authority, the operator does not want to make any change to the site or its infrastructure, simply wanting to prolong the use of the turbines.
When the site was granted permission in 1996 there had been a long community campaign in opposition of the project.
Novar was one of the earlier developments of Scottish on-shore wind generation. It provided a significant contribution to the local economy during construction and through its community benefit fund.
The so-called “S42 variation” will, if granted, increase the operational life of Novar Wind.
Experts say there is no requirement for further ecological surveys or assessment at the site.
In the documents, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) senior planning officer, Susan Haslam, responded to a request for the consideration of an extension. She wrote: “I can therefore respond now confirming that if the S42 application is only for an increase in the operational life of the wind farm, and it will not result in the need for any new or amended infrastructure of any type, then we are content with the basic information requirements you have outlined below.”
She asks the developer: “If there are areas of the site where reinstatement or restoration has not been altogether successful then this would be a good time to consider whether improvements can be made.”
Robert Beck, the agent for the developer, asked the council to consider the application on the same basis other extensions have been dealt with around Scotland.
He wrote: “We note Windy Standard Wind Farm, in Dumfries and Galloway, which has been operational for a similar period as Novar Wind Farm.
“It received consent in November 2018 to extend the original period of consent to December 2027.
“A supporting statement, location plan and site layout were submitted to accompany the application to vary the relevant planning condition.”