A plan for a wind farm on land owned by businessman Mohamed Al Fayed has been refused by Highland councillors.
Almost half the council’s 80 members took the unusual step of visiting the site at Invercassley near Lairg in Sutherland.
Councillors decided the 23-turbine plan was outwith the local authority’s renewable energy policy and would be visually unattractive.
An appeal against the decision refusing the planning application is expected.
The site visit was prompted by objections to the application by local councillors.
The wind farm had been approved by the planning committee, but opponents wanted it discussed by the full council.
Usually this would have taken place in the council chambers in Inverness, but a coach took members on the hour-and-a-half long journey to Lairg.
The authority said 41 councillors sent apologies for not being able to attend the visit.
Highland Council covers a large geographical area, stretching from Caithness in the north all the way down into Lochaber, meaning the furthest travelled members required overnight accommodation to make the early morning trip to Lairg.
Mr Al Fayed is a major landowner in the Highlands – he owns Balnagown Estates and the Falls of Shin visitor centre in Sutherland.
Airtricity, the company behind the proposed wind farm, said it was “extremely disappointed” by the decision.
“We believe the wind farm at Invercassley would not only have generated green electricity but would have brought economic and employment benefits to the area’s communities,” said Alan Baker, Airtricity Scotland’s chief executive.
He said that Airtricity would consider its options on whether to pursue an appeal on the decision.
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