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Wind farm plan in new storm over deer slaughter

Animal welfare activists were horrified to learn this week that a massive slaughter of deer is planned to take place as a result of the wind farm development. Around 80 per cent of the deer stock on the 13,354 acre estate are set to be culled, it has emerged. The animals are to be tempted by food into a enclosure and from there to a "culling station", according to a habitat management report which is not yet in the public domain.

TheGordonbush wind farm, already mired in a heated dispute with local communities over access via the A9 for construction traffic, is now facing fresh controversy.

Animal welfare activists were horrified to learn this week that a massive slaughter of deer is planned to take place as a result of the wind farm development.

Around 80 per cent of the deer stock on the 13,354 acre estate are set to be culled, it has emerged.

The animals are to be tempted by food into a enclosure and from there to a "culling station", according to a habitat management report which is not yet in the public domain.

Neighbouring estate managers are also seriously concerned about the kill, which they say will have an affect on deer numbers on their ground and could devalue their estates.

The East Sutherland Deer Management Group is now calling for an urgent meeting with wind farm developers SSE Generation Ltd, a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy.

But SSE insist they have the backing of Scottish Natural Heritage and the Deer Commission for Scotland. They claim the cull is necessary to promote other species such as red grouse.

Gordonbush estate is owned... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Gordonbush wind farm, already mired in a heated dispute with local communities over access via the A9 for construction traffic, is now facing fresh controversy.

Animal welfare activists were horrified to learn this week that a massive slaughter of deer is planned to take place as a result of the wind farm development.

Around 80 per cent of the deer stock on the 13,354 acre estate are set to be culled, it has emerged.

The animals are to be tempted by food into a enclosure and from there to a "culling station", according to a habitat management report which is not yet in the public domain.

Neighbouring estate managers are also seriously concerned about the kill, which they say will have an affect on deer numbers on their ground and could devalue their estates.

The East Sutherland Deer Management Group is now calling for an urgent meeting with wind farm developers SSE Generation Ltd, a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy.

But SSE insist they have the backing of Scottish Natural Heritage and the Deer Commission for Scotland. They claim the cull is necessary to promote other species such as red grouse.

Gordonbush estate is owned by the Tyser family who no longer live there permanently but who are set to benefit by hundreds of thousands of pounds from the 35-turbine development.

The estate is estimated to hold around a thousand head of deer, more than half of which will be hinds. It marches with another six estates - Kintradwell, Kildonan, Borrobol, Ben Armine, Balnacoil and Dunrobin, which is on the other side of the River Brora.

SNH originally objected strongly to the plan to site a wind farm on Gordonbush, but then controversially withdrew its objection in February last year after a habitat management plan was drawn up.

That plan has now been released, although those who have received it have been told it is not for public distribution.

It states: "Deer numbers will be significantly reduced across the Gordonbush estate with the objective of reducing the availability of hosts for ticks, and to promote the improvement of habitat quality. The methods used will follow the prevailing DCS (Deer Commission Scotland) best practice guidance.

"The most effective and efficient approach is likely to involve attracting deer into an enclosure with feed, from where they can be removed to a culling station."

Chairman of the Sutherland branch of the SSPCA and Brora community council member Bill Faassen de Heer and his wife Betty, also an SSPCA member, are horrified at the method proposed. In a letter to this week's NT, they state: "We're horrified to learn that huge numbers of deer are to be lured through rich feeding to Gordonbush Estate, corralled and then killed. It is left to the reader's imagination to picture the panic, fear and terror these animals will endure."A Neighbouring estate managers did not want to be named but were keen to comment on the issue.

One said: "If they are going to reduce the numbers of deer as much as they are proposing to do, it will create a vacuum on Gordonbush which will draw in deer from neighbouring estates.

"That will obviously lead to a reduction in deer numbers within the East Sutherland deer management area which will be detrimental to the sporting interests and value of the estate.

"Deer managers throughout the Highlands have chosen to work together in deer management groups so this type of issue would not arise. They were set up to look after the interests of the area so one estate would not adversely affect the other.

"Deer management groups aim to strike a balance between habitat and sporting management, whereas SSE are taking this to the extreme at Gordonbush."

Another estate manager commented: "Coralling deer will lead to high levels of stress and a lot of panic in the animals. A lot of deer in a situation like that will run against the fences." A third manager was angry at the lack of consultation from SSE. He said: "SSE are simply pretending that the deer management group doesn't exist. They are pretending that what Gordonbush does is a matter for itself only. Well, the idea that they can run off and do their own thing on Gordonbush is completely mistaken."

Chris Whealing, chairman of the East Sutherland Deer Management Group (DMG) and estate manager of Sutherland Estates, said: "While neither the DMG nor the estate has been consulted, we have heard rumours about the developer's plans and we would urge a meeting with them as soon as possible to determine what their intentions are.

"In our view deer management has to be undertaken sensitively and sensibly. The impact of one estate's plans on the economic activities and associated employment levels of its neighbours must be given serious consideration. This would include consultation with those neighbours."

A press officer for SSE told the Northern Times: "The habitat management plan is part of the formal consultation process and would have been available for view in the North of Scotland in 2006.

"It has been in the public domain and at that point people would have been given the opportunity to consult on it. SNH and the Deer Commission have approved the plan. The reason for the deer cull is to promote other habitats such as red grouse."

* SSE Generation Ltd has now applied for planning consent to demolish a wall surrounding a listed building at the northern outskirts of Brora.

The move is in order to form a large enough turning circle for heavy goods vehicles carrying turbines and other parts to leave the A9 and turn on to Clynelish road and from there on to Moss Road and then the Strath Brora road. The access point to the wind farm site from the Strath Brora road is at Ascoile, some nine miles from Brora.

Five community councils last week united in opposition to the use of the trunk road through the two East Sutherland villages. They want SSE to use an alternative hill route, accessed off the A9 at Golspie and put in place for the Kilbraur wind farm which is almost operational.

SSE is the owner of the listed Clynelish school house. The company has already been refused listed building consent to take down the wall.

The now defunct Sutherland County Committee refused permission because of possible concerns about the foundation of the listed building and the need to consider alternative access options.Anyone interested can view the application at Brora Service Point. Written comments regarding the application can be made to the area planning and building standards manager within 21 days.


Source: http://www.northern-times.c...

SEP 4 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/16920-wind-farm-plan-in-new-storm-over-deer-slaughter
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