August 19, 2014

Objectors protest ahead of windfarm vote

By David Kerr | The Press and Journal | 19 August 2014 |

Dozens of objectors turned out to protest against plans for a controversial wind turbine yesterday.

Councillors on the south planning committee were met by about 60 campaigners who are against RWE Innogy’s plans to build 20 turbines at the Glen Kyllachy wind farm, between Farr and Tomatin.

If approved, the 360ft masts will sit adjacent to the existing Farr windfarm, also operated by RWE Innogy.

Objectors set up huge banners at Farr yesterday to greet councillors while they visited various viewpoints around the site, ahead of today’s decision-making meeting.

Council planning officials have recommended the plan for the approval.

Committee chairman Councillor Jimmy Gray told the objectors that the site visit had been held to look at how the turbines would sit in the landscape.

He said: “The purpose of this visit is to look at how the windfarm would site within the landscape.

“We will take a decision based on the plan’s own merits.”

Among the crowd of protestors was Willie Campbell, of Inverarnie, who questioned Mr Gray on the plans.

Speaking after the encounter, Mr Campbell said: “I’ve had enough of these windfarms, I just don’t see that they are the answer for anything.

“I understand that the council can only do so much but I hope that they make the right decision.

“It’s all about precedent. If they allow plans to go through now then they’ll just keep coming.”

The turbines will be visible from the A9 Inverness to Peth road at Slochd, as well as surrounding villages such as Farr and Tomatin.

The plans originally went before councillors in June but the decision was postponed as members wanted a site visit.

The proposals have split the community, with 35 letters of support and 29 objections being lodged with Highland Council, with both Strathnairn and Strathdearn community councils among the opponents.

Save Strathdearn convener Pat Wells submitted a list of objections to councillors ahead of the decision being taken.

They included the impact on the landscape, peatland and wildlife.

A spokeswoman for RWE Innogy said: “We look forward to demonstrating to the planning committee that the proposed scheme has been carefully designed to minimise impacts on local residents, drivers on the A9, visitors to the area and the Cairngorms National Park.”

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