The fierce two-year fight to stop a 17-turbine wind farm being built on the slopes of Ben Wyvis is over after it emerged the developer has decided not to appeal against its rejection.
And the Ross-shire community council which spearheaded the campaign against plans for Clach Liath Wind Farm reacted by saying it hoped the news sent out a message that the iconic mountain is a “no-go area” for development.
The proposal by Falck Renewables Wind Limited to build 126.5m turbines near Evanton was turned down by planning officials earlier this year under delegated powers. The plan had attracted 254 objections.
The decision was taken because of the “significant detrimental visual effects” to the Ben Wyvis Special Landscape Area and the mountain massif.
Charles Williams, director of development for Falck Renewables, told the Journal: “We initially pursued this site as an appropriate location for a wind farm because it lay outside the designated Special Landscape Area and was not located on areas which have special environmental protection, namely the SAC and SPA on Ben Wyvis for habitats and for birds. The site was more than 2km away from houses and fell within Highland Council’s proposed search area for wind farms.
“Having reviewed the decision by the council and taken account of the views of the statutory consultees including the local communities, we have decided not to pursue an appeal.”
Ferintosh Community Council was a vocal opponent to the plans because the visible turbines would have had an impact on the view of the Ben from the Black Isle.
Its chairman Bruce Morrison said: “I respect the developers for their common sense decision. The opposition was solid and we would not have welcomed a further expensive and unnecessary battle of views.
“This decision to stop development at Clach Liath establishes a very important precedent. The message to all landowners and developers we would hope is that the Ben Wyvis Massif is a no-go area and far too valuable a natural resource for it to be tampered with.
“This is good news for Highland Council, its planners, policies and councillors. In this case, they clearly have a system in place that provided a good defence of our natural resources and support for its people and resources.
“Our thanks to residents, vocal supporters and professional bodies for their support in making the case against this wind farm.”
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