A contentious 34-turbine wind farm planned for the Ross-shire border has today (Thursday) been refused planning consent by the Scottish Government.
Energy minister Fergus Ewing agreed with the findings of the Public Local Inquiry Reporter that the proposed Glenmorie Wind Farm would cause unacceptable landscape and visual impacts, including on wild land.
Highland Council objected to the application by the renewables company Wind Energy for the Glenmorie Wind Farm stating it would impact on the landscape and scenery of the area.
Mr Ewing said: “Scotland has enormous potential for renewable energy that is delivering jobs and investment across Scotland, and I am determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefits from renewable energy.
“We need a balanced approach in taking forward this policy and have to consider what impact any development would have on the local area.
“That is why I have refused permission for the proposed wind farm at Glenmorie, which would have had an unacceptable landscape and visual impact, including on the wild land, in the Highland Council area.
“The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places, and Scottish Planning Policy is clear that the design and location of any wind farm should reflect the scale and character of the landscape and should be considered environmentally acceptable.”
A Public Local Inquiry into the development planned for the Kildermorie and Glencalvie estates was held in Ardross, Easter Ross, last October.
Over 200 objections were lodged against the development with the Scottish Government, and 132 with Highland Council.
The John Muir Trust and The Mountaineering Council for Scotland were among the objectors.
The energy minister’s decision was welcomed by Cromarty Firth Highland councillor Maxine Smith who led the refusal at the council’s North Area planning meeting.
Cllr Smith, the council’s vice convener, said: “While I remain a strong supporter of wind energy, these wind farms must be located appropriately and it was time to act on the Ardross issue, as there were far too many wind farms in close proximity to the proposed Glenmorie Wind Farm.
“I led the refusal in the council’s planning committee and councillors voted with me to gain a majority for refusal. Sadly, as nearly always happens, the developer went to appeal to Scottish ministers. I am now delighted to hear that they backed the council’s decision to refuse and I thank all involved for the hard work, and expense, to get to this point of democracy.”
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