A government agency set up to protect Scotland’s heritage has shocked windfarm opponents by failing to object to plans for a development close to a Highland beauty spot.
The campaign group fighting plans by developer RES to instal 20 turbines at Cairn Duhie on the Dava Moor said Historic Scotland’s decision not to lodge an objection was “startling”.
The 300ft devices are proposed for the Glenferness estate to the south of Ferness, a historic listed village, and east of the A939 Glenferness to Dava road.
Historic Scotland has predicted “adverse impacts” for monuments at the site including the 13th-century Lochindorb Castle, the former stronghold of the infamous Wolf of Badenoch, and the 15th-century Ardclach Bell Tower, but said they did not raise issues of national interest.
Cairn Duhie Action Group campaigner Simon McPherson, of Ferness, said: “It’s startling the Historic Scotland has not objected.
“I’m really surprised given the windfarm’s proximity to national monuments such as Lochindorb, Ardclach Bell Tower and not least this village which is B-listed.” The criticism comes just weeks after the agency faced widespread public anger for failing to object to plans for houses near Culloden Battlefield without visiting the site.
Historic Scotland senior heritage management officer, Robin Campbell, told Highland Council the Cairn Duhie windfarm would be a “prominent feature” in the view of Lochindorb from the south and southeast, “affecting the appreciation of the castle in its setting”.
He said the turbines would not be visible from the island castle or the shore of the loch in which it sits, but said the entire development could be seen from the south-east of the hilltop bell tower, adding that “introducing large moving man-made structures into the remote and isolated setting of the bell tower would affect appreciation of the asset”. Mr Campbell concluded there would be a moderate impact on both of the monuments, but said it did not raise issues of national interest and did not warrant an objection.
An RES spokeswoman said the firm welcomed Historic Scotland’s response. “RES believes that Cairn Duhie is a suitable place for a windfarm,” she said.
“The local landscape and its features such as Lochindorb Castle, Ardclach Bell Tower and Ferness village have been thoroughly assessed and we have sensitively designed the project with these in mind.”
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