Highlands & Islands

SSE asked to protect salmon from Sutherland wind farm

Image caption Concerns have been raised about potential effects on salmon and trout

Fishery boards have sought assurances from an energy company that its proposed new wind farm will not impact on salmon and other fish.

SSE Generation wants to construct 33 turbines at Strathy Forest in Sutherland.

Water from the site drains into the River Strathy while the surrounding area has lochs and pools.

Northern District Salmon Fishery Board and Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) have raised concerns.

However, the organisations have said they would withdraw their objections if SSE was willing to work with them on reducing any risks to water courses essential to species such as Atlantic salmon and sea trout.

Members of Highland Council's Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross planning applications committee are to visit the site on 10 May.

Planning officers have recommended that the local authority does not object to the application, provided various planning conditions are met.

Scottish ministers will be asked to consider the plans later.

Younger visitors

The Scottish government received 169 letters opposing the development and six in support.

Concerns raised include the wind farm's visual impact.

Anglers and bird watchers are among visitors to the area and opponents have said the wind project would affect this tourism.

In a report to councillors, planning officers said Scottish government research suggested that wind farms built during the last 10 years have had a minimal effect on tourism.

The research also suggested younger visitors were more tolerant of the need for such renewable energy schemes.

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