West Lothian, Arcus Renewables / Enel Viento SL
OPEN was commissioned by Arcus Consulting to undertake the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) of Harburnhead Windfarm, West Lothian. The Development is proposed by Enel Viento SL and consists of 22 wind turbines up to 126 m (to tip) in height, with rated capacity of up to 3 MW per turbine. The s36 application for Harburnhead Windfarm was submitted to the Scottish Government in December 2011 and considered by West Lothian Council (WLC) in September 2012, at which it resolved that an objection should be lodged with the Scottish Government. Consequently the Scottish Ministers decided the application should be determined through an Inquiry. OPEN was commissioned to represent the Applicant’s case at the Inquiry, including the preparation of Supplementary Environmental Information (SEI), Landscape and Visual Report and precognitions. In July 2013, OPEN provided expert witness evidence at the Inquiry session on Landscape and Visual matters.
During the LVIA, OPEN worked with the project team to prepare a design strategy to create a windfarm which relates to the characteristics of the landscape and appears appropriate in the landscape due to the rational design. A series of layout design options were considered through the examination of alternative patterns for the layout in relation to the key characteristics of the landscape. The strategy considered the appearance of the windfarm as an object or composition in the landscape as the primary factor generating the layout and a preferred design solution, principally in views from the Pentland Hills and the Central Lowlands.
The site is currently used for commercial forestry, however this has been of limited success in many areas. In order to enhance the ecological value of the windfarm site, the majority of the coniferous trees will be cleared, and a Habitat Management Plan will be developed and implemented to encourage regeneration of mire vegetation, especially on areas of deeper and wetter peat. Wet woodland (mixed broadleaf) will also be planted on areas of higher ground, shaped around the areas of deeper peat. Over time, these habitat changes will begin to restore the inherent character of the landscape with a more natural landscape pattern.