Highlands & Islands

Wind farm work advised to avoid lekking grouse cocks

Black grouse. Image: Andy Hay/RSPB Images
Image caption Black grouse cocks compete in territorial displays in spring-time

The construction of a planned new wind farm should avoid disrupting black grouse leks, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has suggested.

Nineteen-turbine Corriemoillie wind farm, near Garve, has been recommended for approval by Highland Council planning officials.

Lekking, the territorial display of male grouse, takes place in spring.

SNH has suggested that no work should take place if cocks were lekking 750m (2,460ft) from the site.

The agency has also recommended that no work been done until after 0800 GMT if a lek was under a mile away.

SNH has not opposed E.on Climate Renewables' planning application, but has asked that the scheme be reduced by eight to 10 turbines.

The site is not in a protected area, but a report to Highland councillors said land nearby provided habitat for otter, water vole, bats and rare birds.

Flight paths of red throated divers were considered, however, the report said it was "very unlikely" the birds would be adversely affected.

The site does lie within a military tactical training area for aircraft and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has asked that the turbines do not exceed 125m (410ft) in height.

The MoD also asked for lighting for alerting aircraft to the turbines be installed and prior warning be given ahead of construction work.

Highland Council received 473 objections to the project and 87 letters in support.

Councillors will consider the plans at a meeting next month.

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