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Anger as wind farm wins backing  

A controversial wind farm that has been held up by red tape for more than four years is being recommended for approval.

Highland Council voted in favour of Amec Wind’s plan for a 27-turbine wind farm at Edinbane, Skye, in November 2002, despite a protest campaign.

But planning consent was never issued because of delays in the developer obtaining permission from the Scottish Land Court to build on croft land.

Since then a peat slide at a wind farm in Ireland in 2003 resulted in the European Commission taking legal action against the Irish government for not protecting the environment. Also, new information was received about the number of golden eagles using the Edinbane site.

Highland Council’s planning committee will hold a special meeting on Skye next Friday to discuss a revised application for 18 turbines, each 330ft high.

Scottish Natural Heritage has withdrawn its earlier objection, but the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is still opposed, as are a number of people living in the area. In all the council has received 650 objections.

John Rennilson, the council’s planning director, said he is recommending approval: “SNH has been satisfied by additional information supplied and no longer wish to object to the application.”

RSPB Scotland says the additional information does not address the potential threat to golden eagles and other birds.

Judith Hodgson, who lives at Edinbane and is against the plan, said: “We are amazed that Mr Rennilson is recommending approval as it is a clear breach of EU directives. This is also an area where there is presumption against development in the council’s strategy.”

Opponents of the wind farm include Sir Jeremy Isaacs, former chief executive of Channel 4.


3 March 2007

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