Highland councillors are being recommended not to object to proposals to build 34 turbines on hills in Ross-shire despite it attracting hundreds of objections.
Local residents who objected to the plans tabled by Wind Energy (Glenmorie) Ltd yesterday criticised council planners, and said they were outraged by the recommendation.
The Edinburgh-based renewable energy company has applied to the Scottish Government to build 34 turbines each 410ft high on hills between Ardross and Ardgay. The area already has three windfarms, with two more being considered by the government.
As statutory consultees, members of Highland Council’s north planning applications committee will be asked next week to comment on the proposal and planning officers have recommended they don’t object. If they do, Scottish Government will have to hold a public local inquiry.
In his report, to go before the committee next week, planning officer Ken McCorquodale said the government has received 209 objectors to the application and 32 letters of support.
He said the council has received 121 objections and one letter of support and four community councils have also objected.
But Mr McCorquodale concluded the benefits of the proposal had to be weighed against the drawbacks. He said: “The application will have little impact on local properties and settlements.”
Natasha Lawrence, the windfarm’s project manager, said: “We believe this development is suitable for this site and this opinion is reflected by the fact that none of the statutory consultees have outstanding objections. We hope that the planning committee will follow this recommendation when they vote.”
Outrage: ‘Mockery’ of local views
Local campaigners at Ardross said yesterday they were “outraged” planning officers have recommended the proposal be supported.
John Edmondson, chairman of Save our Straths and secretary of the Ardross Community Council, said: “It is abundantly clear the views of local residents count for nothing.
“The planning officer appears determined to ride roughshod over the overwhelming consensus among residents that our area is already overwhelmed with wind turbines.
“Highland Council received 121 letters of objection to the Glenmorie windfarm and just on in support. And yet, apparently these are brushed aside as being of little or no consequence. This makes a mockery of local consultation.
“We appeal to councillors on the planning committee to listen to the voice of residents.”
He added that he felt the report had omitted important objections.
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