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Wind farm protest at Highland Council HQ

Highland councillors today rejected one new wind farm plan and shelved a decision on another which attracted a demo at its headquarters in Inverness.

After a site visit, an application for planning permission made by Carbon Free Moy Limited for a 20 turbine wind farm on land to the north-east of Moy and Tomatin was turned down.

The council’s Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Planning Applications committee ruled it out because of the potential visual impact from the A9.

Then it decided the location for the controversial Allt Duine wind farm to the south near Kincraig should be examined on a site visit.

Developers RWE npower want to build 31 turbines, the nearest of which would be around five kilometres from Kincraig, and 125 metres high.

However, the scheme has attracted opposition from the Save the Monadhliath Mountain’s (SMM) campaign group which organised a demonstration outside council HQ.

About 20 people waved placards and banners claiming the development would damage the area’s unique landscape and tourism industry.

One female protester wore a grim reaper’s mask and a black coffin was also used in the demonstration.

They then filed into the council chambers where committee chairman Councillor Jimmy Gray called for a site visit to Alt Duine “early in the New Year” before the debate began.

Councillor Gray (Inverness Millburn) said there had been a number of representations made about the scheme and thought a site visit would now be appropriate.

That was agreed by the committee which had been due to consider planners’ recommendation of raising no objection to the wind farm.

Chris Townsend, SMM spokesman, said prior to the meeting that it was not an anti-wind farm movement and would have protested against any other large scale development in the area.

“It is the location right on the border of the Cairngorm National Park,” he said. “You won’t be able to see it from the A9 but you will be see it from the north end of the national park.”

The council and Scottish Government had received a total 114 objections and 24 expressions of support. The Cairngorms National Park Authority and John Muir Trust also voiced their opposition opposed the scheme.

Neither Kincraig or Kingussie community councils objected.