Plans for new wind turbines in Angus have been backed by a Scottish Government reporter after a successful appeal.
The decision angered anti-windfarm campaigners, who described it as “perverse”.
Richard Dent of the directorate for planning and environmental appeals upheld the Polar Energy (Finlarg) appeal for Lumley Den, north of Tealing.
Mr Dent visited Angus to review the firm’s Frawney proposals after the council was unable to determine the application for a five-turbine site at Over Finlarg Farm.
He declined a claim for expenses made by the firm as it was likely the council would have refused planning permission.
The reporter conceded the turbines would be close to six that were the subject of a successful appeal recently.
He said: “I am aware that a windfarm development comprising six turbines (no greater than 87 metres to the blade tip) has recently been approved on appeal at Govals Farm to the north-west of the Over Finlarg Farm site.
“If constructed, the two developments would have a cumulative impact on landscape character.
“Because of topography and the additional height of the turbines, I believe the Govals Farm development would be more dominant in the landscape.
“Nevertheless, even when read together, I think the two windfarms could be accommodated within the landscape and would not create a cumulatively unacceptable impact.”
Angus Communities Windfarm Action Group criticised the Scottish Government for sending a reporter on a “day trip” to Angus before allowing decisions that could affect the county for 25 years.
Spokesman Ray Gibson said: “This is a second perverse decision, which makes a mockery of the planning system in Scotland.
“The landscape will now be blighted and residential amenity destroyed for the next quarter of a century by 11 huge turbines.
“Angus Council has spent years drawing up and updating the local plan, and planning officers spent months scrutinising the Frawney (five turbines) and Govals (six turbines) applications… also, the recently published independent ‘bible’ to be used to determine windfarm applications in Angus said that if both Frawney and Govals were approved they would exceed recommended height, numbers and separation distance.”
Last month the council published the 197-page Strategic Landscape Capacity Assessment for Wind Energy in Angus.
The report was drawn up by consultants Ironside Farrar to assist the decision-making process over wind energy development proposals and planning applications.
Mr Gibson added: “It is appalling that Scottish Government reporters can make a day visit to Angus and overturn decisions made by local councillors and planning officers. We appear to be living in a dictatorship run from Holyrood paying no regard to local democracy.”
In upholding the appeal, Mr Dent weighed up material considerations such as the Scottish Government energy policy, which requires the equivalent of 100% of Scottish power to be provided by renewable energy sources by 2020.
In rejecting the firm’s request for expenses due to an overlong period of non-determination by Angus Council, Mr Dent believes its actions were not unreasonable.
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