Occupying around 47 square kilometres, SSE's Clyde wind farm is one of Europe's biggest single consented onshore wind projects. To eradicate and control problematic weeds on site, Complete Weed Control was called upon to provide its expertise.
The 152 turbines at Clyde wind farm are split into three sections with a total installed capacity of 350 megawatts. The wind farm is spread over a large area, and a significant number of tracks exist to enable access to the furthest reaches of the site. As with any tracks or hard surfaces the emergence of unwanted weeds can cause a number of problems.
Weed growth can interfere with visibility for road users and obscure signs. If they appear in kerbs or around drains then they can prevent or slow down drainage. Their growth may even damage the roads causing broken and uneven surfaces. Complete Weed Control, the UK's largest weed control contractor, has been tackling such problems for over 42 years and the contract with Clyde wind farm was one which Keith Gallacher, CWC Contracts Manager for Scotland South East & West, particularly enjoyed working on.
"It was great to get the contract because the wind farm really is a fantastic place to work. The views are absolutely stunning and while it's been challenging work with such a large number of tracks to treat, I have really enjoyed it," said Keith.
Keith and his team used a sophisticated spraying application to all the access roads and hard standing ground platforms. He also used a reduced herbicide application to protect the nearby livestock. However, being a wind farm in such an expansive and open space, it was inevitable that Keith would encounter some challenging weather situations.
"The weather closes in very quickly up there. One minute it's nice and sunny and the next it's absolutely pouring down. Responding well to weather conditions was the most challenging aspect of the job - it makes spraying extremely tricky especially when it's particularly windy. But I was fortunate enough to have some great employees from SSE on-site who really understand the weather conditions. It's great working with SSE and I look forward to continue working with them in the future," said Keith.
The original work is now complete and after delivering excellent results, Keith is already in the process of planning the next instalment of work. Following Keith's recommendations there will be two sprays per year - one in spring and one in autumn.
Experience plays a major factor in successful treatment and Complete Weed Control has experience in abundance. Knowing when and how to apply the appropriate product is absolutely vital; it can speed up eradication and save time and money. All of Complete Weed Control's work is undertaken by adhering to strict health & safety guidelines.