RPS was appointed by PfR to undertake the EIA and Section 36 application to Scottish Ministers for a proposed 17 turbine wind farm development on the National Forest Estate near Forth in South Lanarkshire / West Lothian. This work included managing the layout and design iteration process for the proposed wind farm. The wind farm was granted section 36 consent and deemed planning permission by Scottish Ministers in October 2018. EDF Renewables have now acquired the project from PfR and will be responsible for taking forward this development.
Heathland Wind Farm
Partnerships for Renewables (PfR) / EDF Renewables
South Lanarkshire / West Lothian
The key design constraint at the Heathland site was identified at an early stage as the potential for significant adverse cumulative landscape and visual effects with the existing seven turbine Pates Hill Wind Farm to the east, the 15 turbine Tormywheel Wind Farm immediately to the north-west, the Black Law Wind Farm (and extensions) approximately 4.0 km to the west and the Muirhall Wind Farm (and extensions) approximately 5.3 km to the south-east.
The ability to minimise significant cumulative impacts was made even more challenging by the large-scale of development required by the developer in order to ensure that the project would be commercially viable to operate in a subsidy free marketplace.
As part of the works we carried out a bat assessment to determine the potential impact of the development at local and national scale. Conducting a variety of bat surveys on such a large-scale project proved challenging, requiring our ecologists to collect, analyse and present a huge amount of data.
Through careful attention to the layout and design of the proposed wind farm and through extensive pre-application design consultation with both planning authorities and Scottish Natural Heritage, RPS was able to avoid any objections to the project from statutory consultees. Both planning authorities also supported the development
The bat surveys predicted no significant impacts, however to minimise any potential negative effects a number of best practice mitigation measures were recommended. These included the placement of wind turbines so that blade tops would be more than 50m away from features likely to be used by foraging and commuting bats, topping of trees close to turbines and the preparation of a habitat management plan.
The wind farm was consented and given planning permission in October 2018.
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