Gordonbush extension

  • Category: Renewables
  • Energy type: Onshore wind
  • Project type: Project

On 29 September 2017, Scottish Ministers granted consent for the construction and operation of the proposed 15 turbine extension to the existing operational Gordonbush wind farm, located around 12km north west of Brora, in Sutherland.

NOTICE OF DECISION

SSE Generation Limited

ELECTRICITY ACT 1989

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (SCOTLAND) ACT 1997

THE ELECTRICITY WORKS (ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT)(SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2017

As directed by regulation 23(4) of the Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) 2017, notice is hereby given that SSE Generation Limited (“the Company”) has been granted consent by Scottish Ministers to construct and operate a 15 turbine wind farm (extension) known as Gordonbush Extension Wind Farm,  (with 12 turbines having a ground to blade tip height of up to 130 metres and 3 turbines having a ground to blade tip height of up to 115 metres),  in lands at Gordonbush Estate, to the North West of Brora, in the relevant Planning Authority area of The Highland Council.

Scottish Ministers have also directed, under Section 57 (2) of the Town & Country Planning Act (Scotland) 1997, that planning permission is deemed to be granted. 

Copies of the decision statement and related documentation can be obtained on the Energy Consents website: www.energyconsents.scot

Copies of the decision statement and related documentation have been made available to The Highland Council to be made available for public inspection by being placed on the planning register.

In June 2015, following extensive design, development and consultation we submitted a Section 36 application to the Scottish Government proposing a 16 turbine extension to the existing 35 turbine Gordonbush wind farm, located approximately 12km north west of Brora in Sutherland. As key stakeholders, the Highland Council were consulted by the Scottish Government and the planning committee voted to support the proposal subject to the removal of one of the proposed turbines, reduction in height of one other (from 130m tip height to 115m to tip height) and house each turbine transformer internally (rather than externally as originally proposed). We agreed to progress our proposals in line with the Councils recommendations.

We submitted Further Environmental Information (FEI) to the Scottish Government to quantify the environmental impacts of the changes noted above, which were found to be not significant.

The project team are now considering the best way possible to take the project forward.

 

Quick overview

The 35 turbine Gordonbush wind farm, located around 12km north west of Brora, in Sutherland became operational in June 2012. We have been exploring the potential for an extension to Gordonbush since 2013, in an area to the south west of the current site. We held a public consultation exhibition in October 2013 followed by extensive design, development and consultation.

In June 2015 we submitted a Section 36 application to the Scottish Government proposing a 16 turbine extension. The Highland Council, as key stakeholders, were consulted by the Scottish Government and voted to support the proposal subject to the removal of one of the proposed turbines, the reduction in height of one other and the housing of each turbine transformer internally (rather than externally as originally proposed).

In October 2016 we submitted Further Environmental Information (FEI) to the Scottish Government after agreeing to progress our proposals in line with the recommendations of the Highland Council.

Consent to construct and operate a 15 turbine extension wind farm was granted by Scottish Ministers on Friday 29 September 2017.

Latest news

Having been awarded consent to construct and operate a 15 turbine extension wind farm on 29 September 2017, we are considering the best way possible to take the project forward.

Community

We recognise that our investments in new electricity generation benefit from the co-operation of the local community in a variety of ways, particularly during the construction phase. In recognition of this, our policy is to establish long-term funds to support community projects in areas where we are developing generation projects.

Please visit our Communities page for more information.

More information

Project information

Background

Gordonbush is an operational 35 turbine wind farm approximately 12km north west of Brora, in Sutherland. Construction began in 2010 and it became operational in June 2012.

Development

Beginning in 2013 we explored the potential for an extension to Gordonbush. The proposed area sits to the south west of the current site, approximately 9.5km from Brora, located wholly within Brora Community Council's boundary area.

In September 2013 we issued a Scoping Report to statutory and non-statutory consultees, including the local Community Councils of Brora, Golspie, Helmsdale and Rogart, for comment. A copy of the Scoping Report is available in our ‘Important documents’ section below.

We held a public consultation in October 2013, early in the development process, to gather views on the proposed extension. The project team then worked closely with key consultees and undertook detailed surveys and assessments over two years. The findings were fed into the design development together with feedback from the exhibitions. We also met with the four Community Councils during the early part of 2015 in order to update them on the proposals prior to the final design exhibition. In May 2015 we held a second exhibition to present the final design to the community and engage with them on their views.

Submission

In June 2015 we submitted a Section 36 application to the Scottish Government for a proposed 16 turbine extension to Gordonbush wind farm.

A statutory consultation, seeking views on the proposal, was held by the Scottish Government. Copies of the application and accompanying Environmental Statement (ES) were issued to statutory consultees, including the four local Community Councils, and public copies were available to view at the Highland Council offices in Inverness and Golspie.

Further Environmental Information (October 2016)

In October 2016 we agreed to progress our proposals in line with the recommendations of the Highland Council who, as key stakeholders, voted to support our proposals subject to the removal of one of the originally proposed turbines and the reduction in height of another.

We submitted Further Environmental Information (FEI) to the Scottish Government to quantify the environmental impacts of these changes. You can view the FEI here.

Consent

Consent for the proposed 15 turbine extension wind farm was granted by Scottish Ministers on 29 September 2017.

NOTICE OF DECISION

SSE Generation Limited

ELECTRICITY ACT 1989

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (SCOTLAND) ACT 1997

THE ELECTRICITY WORKS (ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT)(SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 2017

As directed by regulation 23(4) of the Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) 2017, notice is hereby given that SSE Generation Limited (“the Company”) has been granted consent by Scottish Ministers to construct and operate a 15 turbine wind farm (extension) known as Gordonbush Extension Wind Farm,  (with 12 turbines having a ground to blade tip height of up to 130 metres and 3 turbines having a ground to blade tip height of up to 115 metres),  in lands at Gordonbush Estate, to the North West of Brora, in the relevant Planning Authority area of The Highland Council.

Scottish Ministers have also directed, under Section 57 (2) of the Town & Country Planning Act (Scotland) 1997, that planning permission is deemed to be granted. 

Copies of the decision statement and related documentation can be obtained on the Energy Consents website: www.energyconsents.scot

Copies of the decision statement and related documentation have been made available to The Highland Council to be made available for public inspection by being placed on the planning register.

Important documents

Gordonbush Ext - Sample Visulisations 

September 2017 - Consent Decision
October 2016 - FEI Report
October 2016 - Appendix 1 - Request for FEI
October 2016 - Figure 1.1 - Site Context
October 2016 - Figure 1.2 - Site Layout
October 2016 - Appendix 2 - Estimation of Peat Disturbance
October 2016 - Appendix 3 - Windfarm Calculator V2.9.0 Revised May 2016
October 2016 - Figure 2.1a
October 2016 - Figure 2.1b
October 2016 - Figure 2.1c
October 2016 - Figure 2.2a
October 2016 - Figure 2.2b
October 2016 - Figure 2.3a
October 2016 - Figure 2.3b
October 2016 - Figure 2.4
October 2016 - Figure 2.5a
October 2016 - Figure 2.5b
October 2016 - Figure 2.6
October 2016 - Figure 2.7
October 2016 - Figure 4.1 - Interpreted Peat Thickness - Full Thickness
October 2016 - Figure 4.2 - Interpreted Peat Thickness - Peat Only (greater 0.5m)
October 2016 - Figure 6.1 - Cultural Heritage Sites within Site Boundary
October 2016 - Figures 2.8a-c - VP1
October 2016 - Figures 2.9a-c to 2.10a-d - VP2-3
October 2016 - Figures 2.11a-d - VP4
October 2016 - Figures 2.12a-d - VP5
October 2016 - Figures 2.13a-d - VP6
October 2016 - Figures 2.14a-d - VP7
October 2016 - Figures 2.15a-d - VP8
October 2016 - Figures 2.16a-c to 2.17a-c - VP9-10
October 2016 - Figures 2.18a-c to 2.19a-c - VP11-12
October 2016 - Figures 2.20a-c to 2.21a-c - VP13-14
October 2016 - Figures 2.22a-c to 2.24a-c - VP15-17
October 2016 - Volume 2 - Cover and Contents
October 2016 - Volume 3 - THC Visuals RFS Pt1
October 2016 - Volume 3 - THC Visuals RFS Pt2


June 2015 - Non Technical Summary (NTS)

May 2015 – Exhibition board 1: Overview

May 2015 – Exhibition board 2: The development process
May 2015 – Exhibition board 3: The proposal
May 2015 – Exhibition board 4: Design evolution
May 2015 – Exhibition board 5: Environmental considerations
May 2015 – Exhibition board 6: Landscape and visual assessment
May 2015 – Exhibition board 7: Next steps
May 2015 – Exhibition board 8: Investing in the community
May 2015 – Exhibition board 9: Working with local businesses
May 2015 - Comments form (final design)

Oct 2013 - Exhibition boards
Oct 2013 - Exhibition leaflet
Sep 2013 - Scoping report

Important Documents Variation

Gordonbush s.36C - Application Letter
Gordonbush Ext. - Planning Statement

Volume 1

Gordonbush Ext. - Volume 1 - NTS - Web Only

Volume 2

Volume 2 (Written Statement) - Cover, Contents and Preface
Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - EIA Process
Chapter 3 - Consideration of Alternatives
Chapter 4 - Description of Development
Chapter 5 - Planning
Chapter 6 - Scope and Consultation
Chapter 7 - Landscape and Visual
Chapter 8 - Ecology
Chapter 9 - Hydrology Hydrogeology and Geology
Chapter 10 - Ornithology
Chapter 11 - Cultural Heritage
Chapter 12 - Traffic and Transport
Chapter 13 - Noise
Chapter 14 - Other Issues
Chapter 15 - Comparative Environmental Assessment

Volume 3

Volume 3 - Front Cover and Contents
Figure 1.1 - Site Location
Figure 1.2 - Consented Layout
Figure 1.3 - Proposed Variation
Figure 4.1 - Proposed Varied Development
Figure 4.2 - Indicative Turbine Dimensions
Figure 4.3 - Typical WTG Foundation
Figure 4.4 - Typical Access Track Details
Figure 4.5a - Proposed LiDAR Unit Plan
Figure 4.5b - Proposed LiDAR Unit Elevation
Figure 4.6 - Construction Compound
Figure 7.1aBlade tip ZTV with viewpoints A3
Figure 7.1bBlade tip ZTV with viewpoints A1
Figure 7.1cComparative ZTV with Consented Development
Figure 7.1dComparative ZTV with operational Gordonbush Wind Farm
Figure 7.2aHub height ZTV with viewpoints A3
Figure 7.2bHub height ZTV with viewpoints A1
Figure 7.3aLandscape character with ZTV 40km radius
Figure 7.3bLandscape character with ZTV 10km radius
Figure 7.4Landscape designations with ZTV
Figure 7.5aWild Land Areas with ZTV
Figure 7.5bWild Land Areas with comparative ZTV with Consented Development
Figure 7.5cWild Land Areas with comparative ZTV with operational Gordonbush Wind Farm
Figure 7.6Principal visual receptors with ZTV
Figure 7.7Core paths with ZTV
Figure 8.1 - Otter Survey Results 2018
Figure 9.1 - Local Hydrology
Figure 11.1 - Sites with Statutory Protection within 15km
Figure 11.2.1a-c - Wireline from Balnacoil Hill
Figure 11.2.2 - Wireline from Balnacoil Hill 53.5degrees
Figure 11.2.3 - Photomontage from Balnacoil Hill Cairn
Figure 11.3.1a-b - Wireline from Kilbraur
Figure 11.3.2 - Wireline from Kilbraur Hut Circle 53.5degrees
Figure 11.3.3 - Photomontage from Kilbraur Hut Circle
Figure 13.1 - Noise Assessment Locations

Volume 3A

Figure 7.8a-c Viewpoint 1 Beinn Smeorail
Figure 7.9a-c Viewpoint 2 Loch Brora (south-west side)
Figure 7.10a-d Viewpoint 3 Brora to Rogart minor road, south of Killin
Figure 7.11a-d Viewpoint 4 Brora to Rogart minor road, north of Killin
Figure 7.12a-d  Viewpoint 5 Strath Brora, near Balnacoil
Figure 7.13a-d  Viewpoint 6 Brora to Rogart minor road, near Sciberscross
Figure 7.14a-d  Viewpoint 7 Brora to Rogart minor road, near Dalreavoc
Figure 7.15a-d  Viewpoint 8 Craggie Beg
Figure 7.16a-c Viewpoint 9  Ben Horn
Figure 7.17a-c  Viewpoint 10 Beinn Dhorain
Figure 7.18a-c Viewpoint 11 Hope Hill
Figure 7.19a-c Viewpoint 12 Track to Ben Armine Lodge
Figure 7.20a-c Viewpoint 13 Creag nam Fiadh
Figure 7.21a-c  Viewpoint 14 Ben Bhraggie
Figure 7.22a-c Viewpoint 15 Ben Armine

Volume 3B

Figure 7.23 - Viewpoint 3 Brora to Rogart minor road, south of Killin
Figure 7.24 - Viewpoint 4 Brora to Rogart minor road, north of Killin
Figure 7.25 - Viewpoint 5 Strath Brora, near Balnacoil
Figure 7.26 - Viewpoint 6 Brora to Rogart minor road, near Sciberscross
Figure 7.27 - Viewpoint 7 Brora to Rogart minor road, near Dalreavoch
Figure 7.38 - Viewpoint 8 Craggie Beg

Volume 4

Appendix 1.1 - Gordonbush Extension Conditions of Consent
Appendix 1.2 - Requested Changes to Conditions of Consent
Appendix 4.1 - Draft CEMP Jan 2019
Appendix 4.2 - Schedule of Mitigation.docx MW
Appendix 6.1 - Pre-Application Advice Pack (1803782PREAPP)
Appendix 6.2 - Pre-Application Response Matrix.docx
Appendix 7.1 - LVIA Methodology
Appendix 8.1 - Species Protection Plan - Otters
Appendix 8.2 - Habitat Management Plan
Appendix 8.3 - HRA Screeening Report
Appendix 9.1 - Borrow Pit Report
Appendix 10.1 - Collision Risk Calculations
Appendix 10.2 - Bird Survey Figures from 2015 ES
Appendix 10.3 - Bird Species
Appendix 12.1 - Route Survey Report (Appendix A)
Appendix 12.1 - Route Survey Report (Appendix B, Part 1)
Appendix 12.1 - Route Survey Report (Appendix B, Part 2)
Appendix 12.1 - Route Survey Report (Appendix B, Part 3)
Appendix 12.1 - Route Survey Report (Appendix C)
Appendix 12.1 - Route Survey Report

2015 ES

Planning Statement

Planning Statement

Vol 1 NTS

Vol. 1 - Non Technical Summary

Vol 2 Written Statement

Volume 2 - Cover, Contents and Preface
Abbreviations and Glossary
Chapter 1 - Introduction

Chapter 2 - EIA Process
Chapter 3 - Site Selection and Alternatives
Chapter 4 - Description of Development
Chapter 5 - Planning Policy
Chapter 6 - Scoping and Consultation
Chapter 7 - Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment
Chapter 8 - Ecology

Chapter 9 - Hydrology, Hydrogeology and Geology
Chapter 10 - Ornithology
Chapter 11 - Cultural Heritage
Chapter 12 - Traffic and Transport
Chapter 13 - Noise
Chapter 14 - Socio Economic and Tourism
Chapter 15 - Other Issues

Vol 3 Figures

Volume 3 - Cover and Contents
Figure 1.1 - Site Location
Figure 3.1 - Environmental Designations
Figure 3.2 - Constraints and Opportunities
Figure 4.1 - Site Context
Figure 4.2 - Site Layout
Figure 4.3a - Typical WTG Dimensions
Figure 4.3b - Typical WTG Dimensions
Figure 4.4 - Typical WTG Foundation
Figure 4.5 - Typical Access Track Details
Figure 4.6 - Typical Met Mast Elevation
Figure 4.7 - Construction Compound
Figure 4.8 - Operations Building Elevations
Figure 4.9 - Operations Building Layout
Figure 4.10 - Operations Building Elevations
Figure 7.1 - Site Location & Study Area
Figure 7.2 - Landform
Figure 7.3a - Landscape Character
Figure 7.3b - Landscape Character (10km)
Figure 7.4 - Landscape Designations
Figure 7.5 - Wild Land Areas
Figure 7.6 - Principal Visual Receptors
Figure 7.7 - Core Paths
Figure 7.8a - Blade Tip ZTV with Viewpoints A3
Figure 7.8b - Blade Tip ZTV with Viewpoints A1
Figure 7.8c - CZTV Operational Gordonbush A1
Figure 7.9a - Hub Height ZTV with Viewpoints A3
Figure 7.9b - Hub Height ZTV with Viewpoints A1
Figure 7.10a - Landscape Character with ZTV
Figure 7.10b - Landscape Character with ZTV (10km)
Figure 7.11 - Landscape Designations with ZTV
Figure 7.12a - Wild Land Areas with ZTV
Figure 7.12b - Wild Land Areas with Gordonbush Comparative ZTV
Figure 7.13 - Principal Visual Receptors with ZTV
Figure 7.14 - Core Paths with ZTV
Figure 7.15 - Cumulative Wind Farm Locations
Figure 7.16a - Cumulative ZTV with Achany
Figure 7.16b - Cumulative ZTV with Braemore
Figure 7.16c - Cumulative ZTV with Creag Riabhach
Figure 7.16d - Cumulative ZTV with Gordonbush
Figure 7.16e - Cumulative ZTV with Kilbraur and Extension
Figure 7.16f - Cumulative ZTV with Lairg
Figure 7.16g - Cumulative ZTV with Rosehall
Figure 7.16h - Cumulative ZTV with Srathy South
Figure 7.16i - Cumulative ZTV with West Garty
Figure 8.1 - Statutory Designation Sites rfs
Figure 8.2 - Non Stat Designation Sites
Figure 8.3 - 2010 Phase 1
Figure 8.4 - 2010 Grazing Impact
Figure 8.5 - 2010 Sward Height
Figure 8.6 - 2010 Transects
Figure 8.7 - Phase 1 Development Site
Figure 8.8a - NVC North
Figure 8.8b - NVC South
Figure 8.9a - Otter Development Site
Figure 8.9b - Otter Construction Compound
Figure 8.10 - Water Vole & Pine Marten
Figure 8.11 - Ditch Blocking
Figure 9.1 - Local Hydrology
Figure 9.2 - Drift Geology
Figure 9.3 - Solid Geology
Figure 9.4 - Regional Hydrology
Figure 9.5 - Groundwater Vulnerability
Figure 10.1 - Bird Survey Areas
Figure 10.2 - Breeding Bird Locations
Figure 10.3 - Flights by Golden Plovers and Merlin
Figure 10.4 - Flights by Geese & Swans
Figure 11.1 Cultural Heritage Sites within Site Boundary
Figure 11.2 Sites with Statutory Protection within 15km
Figure 11.3.1.1-11.3.1.3 - Wireline from Balnacoil Hill Cairn (90 degree)
Figure 11.3.2 - Wireline from Balnacoil Hill Cairn (53.5 degrees)
Figure 11.3.3 - Photomontage from Balnacoil Hill Cairn
Figure 11.4.1.1-11.4.1.2 - Wireline from Kilbraur Hut Circle (90 degrees)
Figure 11.4.2 - Wireline from Kilbraur Hut Circle (53.5 degrees)
Figure 11.4.3 - Photomontage from Kilbraur Hut Circle
Figure 12.1 - Network Hierarchy within Sudy Area
Figure 12.2 - Count Site Locations
Figure 12.3 - Route Options & Sensitive Receptors
Figure 13.1 - Noise Monitoring Locations
Figure 14.1 Tourism
Figure 15.1 - Shadow Flicker

Vol 3A SNH Visualisations

Volume 3A - Cover and Contents
Viewpoint 1 Beinn Smeorail
Viewpoint 2 Loch Brora (south-west side)
Viewpoint 3 Brora to Rogart minor road south of Killin
Viewpoint 4 Brora to Rogart minor road north of Killin
Viewpoint 5 Strath Brora near Balnacoil
Viewpoint 6 Brora to Rogart minor road near Sciberscros
Viewpoint 7 Brora to Rogart minor road near Dalreavoch
Viewpoint 8 Craggie Beg
Viewpoint 9 Ben Horn
Viewpoint 10 Beinn Dhorain
Viewpoint 11 Hope Hill
Viewpoint 12 Track to Ben Armine Lodge
Viewpoint 13 Creag nam Fiadh
Viewpoint 14 Ben Bhraggie
Viewpoint 15 Ben Armine
Viewpoint 16 Portmahomack
Viewpoint 17 Ben Griam Beg

Vol 3B THC Visualisations

Volume 3B - Cover and Contents
Viewpoint 1 Beinn Smeorail
Viewpoint 2 Loch Brora (south-west side)
Viewpoint 3 Brora to Rogart minor road south of Killin
Viewpoint 4 Brora to Rogart minor road north of Killin
Viewpoint 5 Strath Brora near Balnacoil
Viewpoint 6 Brora to Rogart minor road near Sciberscros
Viewpoint 7 Brora to Rogart minor road near Dalreavoch
Viewpoint 8 Craggie Beg
Viewpoint 9 Ben Horn
Viewpoint 10 Beinn Dhorain
Viewpoint 11 Hope Hill
Viewpoint 12 Track to Ben Armine Lodge
Viewpoint 13 Creag nam Fiadh
Viewpoint 14 Ben Bhraggie
Viewpoint 15 Ben Armine

Viewpoint 16 Portmahomack
Viewpoint 17 Ben Griam Beg

Vol 4 Appendices

Volume 4 - Cover and Contents
Appendix 3.1 - Design Statement
Appendix 4.1 - Draft CEMP
Appendix 4.2 - Lessons Learnt from Gordonbush
Appendix 4.3 - Schedule of Mitigation
Appendix 6.1 - Scoping Opinion
Appendix 6.2 - Scoping Reponse Matrix
Appendix 6.3 - Consultation Report
Appendix 7.1 - Methodology for LVIA
Appendix 8.1a - Phase 1 & NVC Report
Appendix 8.1b - Phase 1 and NVC Communities (2014)
Appendix 8.2a - 2010 Mammal Survey Map
Appendix 8.2b - Faunal Survey Report
Appendix 8.3 - Assessment of Fish Habitats and Populations
Appendix 8.4 - FWPM Survey Report
Appendix 8.5 - Geographical Nature Conservation Assessment Criteria
Appendix 9.1 - Peat Slide Risk Assessment
Appendix 9.2 - GWDTE Assessessment
Appendix 9.3 - Peat Management Plan
Appendix 9.4 - Borrow Pit Assessment
Appendix 10.1 - Collision Risk Calculations
Appendix 10.2 - Bird survey periods and weather
Appendix 10.3 - Bird Species
Appendix 10.4 - Vantage Point Viewshed
Appendix 11.1 - Gazetteer of Archaeological Features
Appendix 12.1 - Abnormal Load Survey Report
Appendix 12.1 - Appendix B (Part 1)
Appendix 12.1 - Appendix B (Part 2)
Appendix 12.2 - Supplementary Abnormal Load Survey Report
Appendix 13.1 - Noise and Vibration
Appendix 14.1 - Gordonbush Wind Farm Case Study
Appendix 15 1 - TV Report
Appendix 15.2 -  Windfarm Calculator V2.9.0
Appendix Fly Sheets