A public inquiry into a major Moray windfarm development will start next month.
The Dorenell scheme at Dufftown that promises to power almost 100,000 homes through the national grid failed to secure Moray Council’s backing last year.
Dutch company Infinergy wants to build the 59-turbine scheme on 5,000 acres of the remote Cabrach area on the Glenfiddich Estate.
Objectors have vowed to present their strongest arguments to stop the plans from going ahead. Infinergy said its controversial plans would be a huge environmental boost for the area, and the windfarm would be sited in a remote area away from residential properties.
Senior project officer Mark Van Rij said Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), the Deveron Fisheries Board and the Spey Fishery Board had submitted no objections.
He added: “The fantastic thing is it’s a very, very large-scale project. It’s by far the biggest in Moray. It’s got more than excellent wind speeds, it’s far above the UK average. The economic output is absolutely fantastic.”
Speyside Glenlivet SNP councillor Michael McConachie is supporting the scheme. He said the proposal would bring with it a capital investment of £185million, £65million of which would go to Scottish companies.
The proposal was rejected by Moray Council in October last year, however.
The planning and regulatory services committee objected because the project went against the local plan.
The Stop Dorenell Wind Farm campaign group is also objecting. Secretary Robert McHugh said there were many reasons that the scheme should not go ahead, but tourism would be the group’s main argument.
Mr McHugh, 49, who lives at Auchinhandoch, Dufftown, said an eight-month survey of visitors in 2008 found that a significant number of people said they would not come back to the area if the windfarm was built.
He added: “We’re geared up for the inquiry and we will argue as strongly as we can that it’s a bad place to have a windfarm. It is in an area designated by Moray Council as having landscape value. Why should these developers be allowed to run rough-shod over those plans?”
The inquiry sessions will be held in the Mortlach Memorial Hall, Albert Place, Dufftown, and will start at 9.30am on Tuesday, November 16. They are expected to last around six days.
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