A more picturesque perspective can now be enjoyed by visitors to Riverside Park in Wick after ScottishPower Renewables completed a programme of enhancement works in the popular park.
The green energy company, which is currently constructing the nearby Halsary Windfarm, carried out the works in agreement with local community representatives who were keen to see the park looking its best.
The works – which cost almost £38,000 – involved removing dead or diseased trees, cutting back overhanging trees including branches obscuring the view of the Dr John Alexander statue, hedge-trimming, leaf clearance, and clearing out the park’s iconic fountain.
All the works were managed carefully and sensitively and undertaken only after extensive ecological surveys were completed. In addition, the usable timber removed from the site has been preserved for use by Highland Council.
ScottishPower Renewables’ Halsary Windfarm Project Manager, Fraser Anderson, said: “At ScottishPower, we actively work to make a positive contribution to the communities within the vicinity of our windfarms and this is a great example of what that can mean in practice.
“The initial plans for Riverside Park were based on the need to cut back some of the trees so wind turbine parts could be transported safely from the harbour to the construction site; however, we very quickly realised we could step in and do much more.
“We’re very proud of the visible difference the works have made not just to the park – but to the town itself – and look forward to seeing the enhanced environment being enjoyed by the people and communities in Wick and the surrounding areas as we continue to work to bring more clean, green energy to the Highlands.”
Caithness Area Committee Chair, Councillor Nicola Sinclair, said: “Local councillors and community groups worked closely with the ScottishPower team to ensure that the proposed tree removal gave something back to the local area. We felt this area of the Riverside was very dark, damp and overgrown and in fact would benefit from some clearing, to allow light and air to circulate again.
“I am delighted with the works completed by the team. Off the back of this activity, Highland Council, Wick Community Council, Wick Paths, Wick’s Heart and local businesses have begun a joint project to renovate the Riverside Fountain and tidy up the area with some wild flower planting, play equipment and decorative touches. We’re looking forward to getting started with that in the spring. I think the area is much improved and this is a good example of collaborative working resulting in a win-win for everyone.”
Halsary windfarm will comprise 15 turbines in total, generating 30MW of renewable electricity – enough to power the equivalent of more than 19,000 homes*. The first export of power from the windfarm is expected before the end of the year.
Notes to Editors
*Based on the following calculation: 30MW (installed capacity) x 0.2662 “onshore wind” average load factor (Digest of UK Energy Statistics) x 8760 hours (hours per year) / 3618 KWh (average domestic annual consumption) = 19,336 homes powered equivalent.
The average domestic household consumption and load factors can change each year. Further information is available at the RenewableUK website.