A wind farm developer has won an appeal against Highland Council and has been granted permission to erect an 80-metre high temporary meteorological mast near Beauly.
However, the reporter declined to award ABO Wind UK Ltd costs for the appeal for the mast adjacent to the controversial proposed Allt Carach Wind Farm.
ABO is investigating the potential for a wind farm located in the Kilmorack Community Council area, southwest of Beauly, which has attracted considerable opposition in the area.
The proposed development would be located on land owned by the Breakachy, Erchless and Farley Estates.
In March, the German developers submitted a planning application to erect the temporary 80m high meteorological mast near Urchany and Farley Forest on the Farley Estate that will collect reliable wind and other metrological data that will help to evaluate the potential for the site for wind farm development.
But the application was knocked back by the Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee in May on grounds that the height and elevated position of the mast would have a detrimental impact on the landscape and scenery and on individual and community residential amenity.
The committee’s decision overturned the recommendation of the council’s planning officer that the application should be approved as the temporary met mast would “have very little impact on the surrounding landscape or amenity of nearby residents”.
Following the appeal decision, ABO Wind project manager Tom Harrison said: “We are relieved at the outcome as the purpose of the met mast is solely to assess whether this site is viable for a wind farm.
“It was unreasonable of the council to reject our planning application in the first instance and by going to appeal we have proved the council’s decision was wrong.”
Commenting on the decision not to award expenses for the appeal, he said: “Naturally we are disappointed that our appeal for expenses has been rejected given that it has been determined that we should have been granted approval for this met mast back in May. Though we had always intended to donate the expenses to charity, we believe the award of expenses would have sent a clear message to the council.
“The purpose of the met mast, which is a temporary structure is to identify if this site is suitable. If the met data suggest a wind farm could be viable, we will use the data to design the best possible wind farm for that site.”
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