March 23, 2011

Contentious turbines get go-ahead

By Cheryl Livingstone, The Press and Journal, 23 March 2011

Protesters fighting a 19-turbine windfarm plan for the hills near Garve in central Ross-shire expressed their disappointment yesterday after it – the second windfarm on their doorstep – was given the go-ahead.

Members of the Ross, Skye and Lochaber planning applications committee spent yesterday morning on a site visit to the proposed 47.5MW development by applicant E.ON Climate and Renewables.

The Corriemoillie windfarm will involve turbines about 410ft and would be immediately adjacent to, and share access with, the existing 17-turbine Lochluichart windfarm.

Following the site visit, the seven councillors from the 12-strong committee were met by more than 30 protesters with banners outside their headquarters at Dingwall before heading inside to discuss the application.

The plan received more than 500 letters of objection and yesterday a number of objectors voiced their concerns at the hearing, claiming the development would have a detrimental impact on the visual landscape and protected species, as well as tourism.

One protester told the hearing onshore windfarms would become out of date in the future and the community will be left with a “dinosaur” on their landscape.

But planning officer David Mudie said the development’s impact on its surroundings would not be “significantly detrimental” and could be controlled through a number of measures and imposed conditions as part of the planning permission.

“The visual impacts are not considered to be significant and will not effect the experience of people visiting the area,” he added.

Members voted unanimously to grant planning permission.

Daniel Shaw, head of development for E.ON Climate and Renewables, said later: “It is a fantastic site for a windfarm and will contribute significantly to the country’s renewable energy targets. It will also bring lots of benefits to the local economy.

“A huge amount of work has gone into this site so we were a bit nervous about the final decision but we are confident about the work that we have done. There was also no objections from statutory consultees or community councils.” Mr Shaw said that a community benefit would be set up, which over the 25-year life span of the project would create around £3million for the community.

Jos Seligman, spokesman for Say No to Corriemoillie Wind Farm objectors group, said later they thought the local elected council members were going to refuse it and felt let down by the outcome.

He said: “As much as 87% of the public are against this development. We are very disappointed and we will now have to go away and decide what to do next.”

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