Windfarm objectors in Skye are considering legal action in response to Highland Council’s approval of a 10-turbine project near the village of Edinbane.
The Skye Windfarm Action Group (Swag) is consulting lawyers following yesterday’s go-ahead from the council’s local Skye and Lochalsh area planning committee for a quarry to support RDC’s development which received planning permission last week.
The decisions had been deferred in June following legal advice surrounding concerns about an inadequate environmental assessment.
Pointing out that the local siting of the quarry would mean fewer lorry movements on Skye’s public roads, area planning manager Simon Fraser said: “We’ve resolved to permit this quarry subject to a legal agreement in respect of reinstatement and a bond (insurance policy) to cover the cost of the environmental works.
“This site is 2km from the nearest settlement of Edinbane, in the middle of a forest. And with water courses which run the other direction from Edinbane, the development plan says the council will, being satisfied in of all the right environmental impacts, normally support mineral extraction so long as it’s more than 400metres from the nearest noise-sensitive property. Unless somebody convinces me there is a particular issue – and they haven’t – if you can’t run a quarry 2km from the nearest settlement where can you run a quarry?”
The council has granted permission for an 18-month quarry operation visible two miles away for “a short stretch” of the A850 Dunvegan to Portree route.
Swag chairman John Hodgson argued last night that the hearing had been a sham and that the windfarm would be “illegal” because the developers had still failed to produce the required environmental data. And he said the development had been approved despite Highland Council not knowing the size of turbines involved.
RDC Scotland development manager Nick Yencken said: “We are pleased this application has finally gone through as it will significantly reduce the volume of heavy traffic on local roads. This means we will be able to deliver the windfarm in a way which will reduce the inconvenience to local people and still deliver all the benefits.”
by Ian Ramage
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