Council chiefs are set to give wind farm developers the go-ahead to build a 200ft mast next to a lighthouse, despite admitting it will spoil a picturesque coastline on a Hebridean island.
The view of the Rhinns of Islay Lighthouse from the village of Portnahaven has enchanted visitors for almost two centuries.
But soon the view of the lighthouse, on the tiny island of Orsay just off Portnahaven will be dominated by a meteorological mast after council officials decided its importance to an offshore wind project of 140 turbines “outweighs the materially harmful impact”.
Argyll and Bute Council decision’s was fiercely opposed by Islay Community Council, who say the mast will loom over the 150ft lighthouse, ruining the view for Islay’s 3,000 residents and for tourists.
SSE Renewables want to build the mast on Orsay Island “to assess conditions” for a possible offshore wind farm with 140 turbines.
An Argyll council planning report raises serious concerns about the development, admitting that it would “represent a large and alien feature within such a sensitive landscape, out of scale with the only other substantial man-made structure on the island”.
It says: “The proposed development, by virtue of its height, would be materially harmful to the character of the site and surroundings.”
But it adds that the Scottish Government’s green agenda is of greater importance, stating that the mast is “in the national interest”.
The authority’s planners have recommended that the development is approved when the council’s planning committee meets again in August.
Alastair Redman, a sub-postmaster and community councillor, said the report reads “like a parent talking to a child”.
He said: “They seem happy to ignore the wishes of the people. Argyll and Bute Council should remember they are there to represent the wishes of the people, and not the interests of wealthy energy companies like SSE.”
The Rhinns of Islay lighthouse, designed by Scottish engineer Robert Stevenson, was completed in 1825. It was operated by keepers until 1998, when it became automated.
SSE Renewables claimed yesterday that the structure would have “relatively low impact” on the scenery and stressed that it would be taken down after six years.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding