Craigneil Windfarm, Aberdeenshire
Avian Ecology, on behalf of Electricity Supply Board (ESB) provided lead ecological and ornithological expertise for the proposed Craigneil Wind Farm, an 11-turbine scheme located on moorland at Rickarton, approximately 6.5km north west of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.
Commencing in 2013, our team provided full technical support from the completion of baseline surveys , through to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and planning submission in May 2018.
Over the course of our appointment we ensured appropriate baseline studies were completed, which reacted to scheme evolution, extended submission timeframes and changing industry standard guidance. We ensured regular and detailed consultation with statutory regulators, conservation bodies and species-interest groups, which allowed a transparent and robust approach to survey and assessment.
The EIA considered in detail the potential for impacts to bats, collision risks to red kites, together with the potential for effects upon qualifying migratory goose interests of the Loch of Skene Special Protection Area (SPA). Avian Ecology ensured that adequate information was presented to allow an appraisal and assessment of the development upon these key natural heritage interests including a Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA), to the satisfaction of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH, now NatureScot).
Avian Ecology also guided scheme design to minimise the potential for direct and indirect losses of sensitive moorland habitat and provide opportunities for meaningful habitat management proposals as part of the scheme including heathland restoration and fish habitat enhancement.
The Craigneil Windfarm has subsequently been recommended for approval by Aberdeenshire Council’s planning officers and has received no objections from key statutory consultees including NatureScot. A decision is currently awaited pending, a site visit for the Aberdeenshire Council’s Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.