Noise and vibration

Modelling of wind turbine noise levels is a key part of the site evaluation process.

  • Computer predictions of the noise the new turbines are likely to generate will be compared to stringent noise limits, derived in accordance with relevant planning guidance;
  • The impact of noise during construction and operation on properties near the site will be carefully assessed.
  • Modern turbines designs have improved on older ones, as mechanical noise has been minimised through engineering and insulation techniques.
  • Aerodynamic noise associated with the movement of the blades has been controlled through careful designing the blade profiles.
  • Any development consent would impose strict noise limits on the operation of the wind farm.
  • No wind turbines are planned within 1.5 km of privately owned residences.

Aviation and radar impacts

The site lies in an area of uncontrolled airspace, approximately 10 km south-east of Oban Airport. There are no airspace routes near the site, i.e., no areas of controlled airspace use for the onward routing of air traffic.

No aviation issues are apparent, and no concerns were raised by relevant stakeholders during the scoping process.

The site has no prospects for impacts to the key radar in the area; specifically, the MOD air defence radar on Benbecula, the NATS En-route radars at Tiree and Lowther Hill or the Glasgow Airport approach radar.

The site lies just beyond the limit of physical safeguarding zone for Oban Airport. It is also beyond the safeguarding limits for the airport’s navigational aids.

The site is not in an area designated as of high importance for military low flying training.

Telecommunications and Electronic Interference

Wind turbines can potentially cause interference to telecommunication system signals such as terrestrial fixed microwave links, terrestrial radio telemetry links and television broadcasts through reflecting and shadowing telecommunication signals between transmitters and receivers.

Only telecommunication links which travel across the site and close to the wind turbine locations have the potential to be impacted by the Proposed Development.

Potential effects on communication links were established through early consultation with relevant link operators and two communication links were identified as crossing the site. Further assessment will be undertaken to determine the significance of any potential operational effects and where appropriate, suitable mitigation measures will be discussed with the link operator.

Climate and Carbon Balance

Increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are resulting in global heating which will cause catastrophic changes to our climate. A major contributor of GHG emissions is the burning of fossil fuels such as natural gas for electricity generation; the benefit of wind energy is that no GHGs are produced during the generation of renewable electricity. However, there will be emissions resulting from the manufacture and transport of the turbines, as well as the site construction and decommissioning. In addition to these, where a wind farm is located on carbon rich soils such as peat, there are emissions resulting from direct action of excavating peat for construction and the indirect changes to hydrology that can result in losses of soil carbon.

The Scottish Government has set a target through the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 to reduce GHG emissions to net zero by 2045, with an interim target of 75% reduction in emissions by 2030. These targets are supported by Argyll and Bute Council, through its Decarbonisation Plan 2022 – 2025 and through the Argyll & Bute Council Local Development Plan (LDP) where Policy LDP 6 supports the sustainable growth of renewables.

The Scottish Government has supported the development of a Carbon Calculator for wind farms on peat; this tool estimates the time that it will take for the Proposed Development to payback the emissions produced during its construction, through the generation of zero carbon electricity, which displaces fossil fuel generated electricity in the grid. The results of this assessment will be reported in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR).

As part of the design process, the wind turbines are being sited to avoid the areas of deepest peat as far as practicable, and measures to minimise peat disturbance, especially during excavation, will be considered. To minimise peat disturbance in construction and decommissioning, best practice measures will be provided as part of the Construction Environmental Management Plan.