This is a photomontage visualisation of how the Faray Wind Farm may look along the eastern side of the island of Rousay.
Faray Wind Farm site layout map.
Faray Wind Farm site layout map (click to enlarge).

This uninhabited island, lying to the north and west of Eday and south-southeast of Westray, was bought by Orkney Islands Council in January 2019 for its strategic development potential.

The project consists of six wind turbines of up to a maximum of 149.9 m height from ground to blade tip when vertical with the proposed with a capacity of 28.8MW.

In addition to the turbines, the site could include turbine foundations, crane hard-standings, a new jetty/landing site for bringing turbine components and construction materials onto the island, internal access tracks, on-site access tracks between turbines, underground cabling between the turbines, on-site substation and maintenance building with welfare facility, a temporary construction compound and potential on site borrow pit(s) dependent on the suitability of site-won materials to provide aggregate for the construction of the development.

Two marine licences applications were submitted in 2021 to Marine Scotland’s Marine Licensing Team (MS-LOT) for works below Mean High Water Springs (MHWS), i.e. the installation of improved access to Faray via construction of a new extended slipway and landing jetty. Both licenses are required – one for the construction and one for dredging disposal operations, and are currently awaiting response.

Key facts:

  • Faray is approximately 17km northeast of Orkney Mainland, and approximately 25km from Kirkwall.
  • The site boundary comprises the entire island, extending to approximately 168hectares and centred on British National Grid (BNG) 352985, 1037250.
  • The are no current residents on the island, with the last former residents understood to have left in the late 1940s.
  • OS mapping suggests there are several relic structures, former farms and cottages, an old road/track, and a burial ground. A small jetty is located on the southeast coast.
  • The coastline is generally defined by rocky cliffs with geos and caves, except on the west coast near the north of the island and on the far southeast coast, where there are stretches of beach.
  • Access to the site is currently only achievable by private boat landing at the existing jetty at the southeast of the island.

Challenges & Mitigations

To reduce potential impacts that may arise from the developments, measures will be put in place to mitigate challenges that have been identified through surveys and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The table below summarises some of the proposed challenges and mitigations that may arise throughout the construction and operational phases of the project:

Landscape & VisualVisual impact of the turbines within the landscape designations.• The visual impact was considered through the choice of the site and design of the turbine locations with extra care being taken to minimise impacts.

• Maintaining a sizeable separation distance from residential properties helps to reduce potential impacts on visual amenity. The closest property to the area being considered for development is c.950m.
Ecology & OrnithologyEffect on local wildlife, seals and birds during construction and operation including disturbance arising from construction and collision risks during operation.• A comprehensive suite of ecology and ornithology surveys have been undertaken. The results of these surveys will strongly influence the final design, with turbines being positioned to minimise potential impacts.

• The construction program will also be designed to be sympathetic to ecology and ornithology. With this in mind, we are proposing that no construction takes place from mid-September to end of February (i.e. during Grey seal pupping season).
Transport & Traffic plus Site SpecificLogistical requirements such as getting equipment to the island.• A detailed analysis of the expected logistical requirements will be undertaken.

• A Construction Traffic Management Plan with our team from Roads Services will be agreed.
NoiseIncreased noise during the construction period.• The closest property to the area being considered for turbine development is c.1.6km. This separation distance will ensure that the project is unlikely to breach any regulatory thresholds – we will of course commit to taking action should those thresholds be breached in practice.

• Background noise surveys have been undertaken in agreement with the Environmental Health Officer at OIC.
Cultural & HeritageThere is a Chambered Cairn at the north end of the island.• Potential impacts are being taken into account and will be designed to avoid directly impacting upon the Cairn.

How could turbines be delivered to Faray?

We are still in the early stages of this development with detailed studies to be carried out. We are in discussions with Marine Scotland to determine the best solution between a fixed pier or a temporary floating structure. Our current proposal is two stages:

Stage One• Excavators or tractors/trailers and quadbikes/trailers could be delivered to the site by landing craft to help form the site compound and preliminary works on site.
• A slipway could be created from sheet pile and borrowpit in-fill. This could be capped with a concrete deck.
• Materials could be transported from Hatston, with concrete mixed on Faray.
• Upon completion, all materials and goods could be brought in via the new slip, apart from abnormal loads like the turbine components.
Stage Two• A concrete caisson could be used to form a blunt end pier, this could be towed to the site after a dredging vessel had been used to create a landing pad for the caisson.
• A sheet pile and borrowpit infill link could be built from the shore to the caisson and capped with batched concrete.
• The caisson could then be infilled with borrowpit infill and also capped off with on-site batched concrete.
• Pile driven mooring steel piles could be delivered to Hatston by ship and then installed on site by construction barge.

Relevant publications for the Faray Community Wind Farm can be found here.