Cabrach: Rural community fears being turned into 'UK's largest windpark'

There are already two renewables developments in the Moray community and locals are worried about plans for new turbines.

A rural community in Moray say it faces being turned into “the UK’s largest windpark” if plans for new turbines get the go-ahead.

There are already two renewables developments in the Cabrach but locals say people will be put off settling in the area if the renewables sector is allowed to further expand locally.

The Scottish Government says windfarms are important to protect the country’s energy security.

At the turn of the 20th century, around 1,000 people lived in the Cabrach. These days the community is a tenth of that size, with fewer than 100 people living and working there.

The Cabrach Trust has been working hard to regenerate the region, by creating walking trails and building a distillery and visitor centre. 

But residents say plans for a number of windfarms could undo the work to encourage people to stay or settle in the area.

Local resident Virginia Irvine-Fortescue said: “The communities that live around and in the Cabrach have done their duty.

“We have reached saturation point with what we can use with our weather, with the turbines, but at the same time we must also try to live with this – the noise. The fact that we are also losing what people come to the Cabrach for, which is the beauty. That’s all we can offer in this part of the world, the unbelievable beauty.”

There are two windfarms already operating in this part of Moray. A number of developers have applications in to extend them and create other new projects.

One has been approved on appeal and another was given the go-ahead following a public inquiry.

Patti Nelson from the Cabrach Community Association said: “The concern is the negative impact it will have on the community.

“At the moment it’s wonderful. We have had so much positive things happening, the wellbeing trails, the heritage centre, the distillery, there’s been a lot of moves towards regeneration and we are quite saddened with the third wave (of turbines). We are not saying that we don’t agree, we do believe in green energy.”

Jonathan Christie of The Cabrach Trust added: “We have 78 turbines operating across two windfarm developments, providing enough energy to provide electricity for three times the number of homes in Moray alone, so there is certainly a significant contribution being made and an overprovision beyond Moray.

“The next two developments, which have received consent, would bring that up to just under 100 turbines, all within quite a close proximity of one another. But the third wave of developments would take that number way beyond what’s currently in place.”

Applications for a new wave of windfarms are under consideration by the Scottish Government and a decision is expected by the summer.

The Scottish Government says its vital communities are fully engaged in any onshore wind development and says the renewables sector is important for the country’s energy security.

Energy minister Gillian Martin said: “The generation of electricity in a domestic setting, from wind turbines, tidal, will mean that we are not subject to the global economic shocks that we have seen, for example, the Ukraine-Russia war had an impact on gas prices.

“Geopolitical factors will mean oil gas prices spike and trough in an unpredictable way.

“But if we have our own renewable energy then we will not be subject to those shocks, the type of shocks that we have seen with the fuel crisis in the last couple of years.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in