Proposed new planning guidelines will make it nigh on impossible to refuse a windfarm in the Highlands on the grounds of its impact on nearby houses, it was claimed yesterday.
Caithness Windfarm Information Forum is challenging Highland Council’s revised stance on the thorny issue of the acceptability or otherwise of turbines near residences.
Chairman Stuart Young claims the local authority’s latest position is at odds with that agreed by councillors and cocks a snook at the public consultation exercise it carried out.
Until February last year the forum was happy with the protection afforded to householders living close to the sites of proposed windfarms.
The Scottish planning guidelines then made clear applications would be refused where the windfarm would have ‘ a long-term significant detrimental impact’ on nearby residents.
This has since been watered down to direct planning authorities to merely have to consider the ‘longterm and significant impact’ of the proposal.
Mr Young welcomed Highland Council’s subsequent introduction of stricter measures to protect residential amenity.
The forum, he said, was very concerned to note that the council has changed it stance in its latest amendment to its new local development plan.
Mryoung said: “This would eliminate the in-built protections and make it virtually impossible to refuse any windfarm application in the face of the Scottish Government’s pressure to allow windfarm development.”
The forum is calling on officials to withdrawits response to reflect the views of the councillors who had approved the draft version of the development plan.
At the least, it believes the council is duty bound to put its new stance out to public consultation.
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