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Undesirable turbines thwarted at Caithness

Plans for a wind turbine scheme at Caithness, Scotland, have been rejected by the Scottish parliament due to the likelihood of spoiling property prices and views of the landscape.

There was also the possibility of noise pollution, and a potential impact on wild bird populations, and all these factors would have made the development have too much impact of the surrounding area.

RSPB Scotland welcomed Scottish Ministers’ decision to refuse consent for the development, following a public local inquiry last year. A 77.5 megawatt, 30 turbine wind farm at Spittal, Caithness was planned, and the conservation charity believed that the proposed development would have had an adverse impact on important wintering populations of Whooper Swan and Greylag Goose.

Spittal Hill Wind Farm Ltd had originally sought permission for 30 turbines up to 110 m in height at the site, before suggesting a slightly lower figure of 27 in February 2011.

Stuart Benn, RSPB Scotland Conservation Manager, said : “We believe that ministers have made the correct decision in refusing consent for this wind farm. Although RSPB Scotland supports renewable energy developments to combat climate change, these must be located appropriately so that they do not harm important bird populations.

“In this instance we didn’t think it has been shown that, together with other wind farm developments in this area, the internationally-important Whooper Swan and Greylag Goose populations of the nearby Caithness Lochs would be safe. Predicted collisions of birds with turbines could have led to a decrease in wintering numbers, contrary to the UK’s international responsibilities for nature conservation.”