Plans for a new windfarm in Sutherland have been rejected by the Scottish Government as being just one too many.
Wind Prospect Developments wanted to build 13 turbines to the west of Craggiemore on Tressady Estate, north-west of Rogart.
The company was developing the proposal on behalf of French energy giant EDF.
The scheme was refused by Highland councillors earlier this year after a site visit.
Members of the north planning committee felt that windfarm would create a ring of steel around local crofts.
But the developer lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government’s planning department.
Now the reporter, Alison Coard, has published her determination and refused planning permission for the 377ft devices.
One local councillor yesterday welcomed the decision.
Councillor Graeme Phillips said he was “jumping up and down with happiness because I know how much distress this proposal was causing”.
He added: “It’s important that the reporter agreed on the cumulative impact of windfarms, especially around Knockarthur, East and West Langwell. She also recognised the impact on the wider community as a whole.
“Most important, she accepted our argument that it isn’t just the view out of a window that matters: there is an impact on everyone driving around the community in their day to day lives. She says explicitly that, if Tressady had been built, it would have led to people feeling surrounded by windfarms.”
In her newly published report, Ms Coard said that the proposals did not comply with the development plan and that the visual impact of the scheme “would tip the balance of acceptability”.
She added that in combination with the existing turbines at nearby Kilbraur “windfarms would become an over-dominant and distinguishing feature of the locality”.
Sophie Nioche, development manager for Wind Prospect, said: “We are extremely disappointed by the Scottish Government’s decision to dismiss the appeal for the Tressady wind farm proposal, particularly considering the project received a recommendation to grant planning permission from a Highland Council’s principal planner.
“Renewable energy projects like the one we proposed for Tressady can provide a range of new opportunities for the people who manage or work on the land in the local area.
“This project could have delivered substantial benefits to people in the local area and we maintain that the site is an excellent location for this type of scheme. We will therefore review the decision in detail and consider our options going forward.”
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