Wind farm developers are producing ‘artist’s impressions’ in which proposed turbines look smaller than their actual size in order to win approval from councils, it has been claimed.
The Scottish Government’s nature quango has conceded that some firms have accidentally shrunk computer-generated images to make them fit in a report.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) chiefs spoke up after Inverness architect Alan MacDonald raised concerns that developers are misleading the public and planning officials. Mr MacDonald, a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, claimed firms often use a wide-angle lens and photograph the site from long range because this shows a ‘wider context’ of the surrounding landscape.
However, this can also have a huge impact on the apparent size of the turbines when they are digitally inserted into the shot. Mr Macdonald said: ‘Local people are being misled about the potential visual impact.’ He is calling for developers to produce ‘straightforward’ images.
An SNH spokesman said: ‘In our view most developers have followed our guidance and provided good quality visualisations. Images are shrunk to make them fit on standard paper sizes, not to deliberately underestimate impacts. We will be consulting on revised methodology in the next few months.’