Achany Wind Farm Monitoring

Client: SSE Renewables

As well as providing the Ecological Clerk of Works service to SSER during construction of the Achany wind farm (near Lairg), nes also  developed and supervised the implementation of a Habitat Management Plan (HMP). We are currently undertaking post construction breeding bird surveys, plus monitoring to establish the efficacy of habitat creation and vegetation translocation.

Among the key ecological issues covered during construction were minimisation of disturbance to breeding birds and water voles, and the reinstatement of vegetation on disturbed areas, including the translocation of scarce montane plant species. In addition, we sought to create and enhance black grouse, water vole and upland wader habitat in the HMP. To this end, selective conifer felling, deciduous tree planting, fence marking, moorland ditch blocking and water vole habitat creation were undertaken in 2009.

Monitoring between 2009 and 2015 showed that the newly created ditch habitat was being occupied by water vole, this being the first example of its kind of successful habitat creation for water vole in the Scottish uplands. In 2016 we undertook works to extend the area of new ditches.