Highland councillors yesterday reaffirmed their support for two controversial windfarms in Sutherland.
Members of the north planning applications committee were asked to review their previous responses on Glencassley and Sallachy windfarms after changes to national planning policy.
But despite calls from conservationist to raise an objection, they backed their original decision to support the two applications – which will now be decided by ministers.
The two applications were supported by the council in May 2013, however since then government planning policy on wild land has changed, and the council were offered the chance to reconsider the plans under the new legislation.
SSE Renewables’ Glencassley scheme involves around 23 turbines near Rosehall, while WKN Sallachy Ltd’s plans comprise 22 devices near Loch Shin.
Only seven members of the committee were allowed to vote on yesterday’s decision, because they had been involved in the original discussions.
The John Muir Trust said that approval for the windfarm would mean the wild land area maps would be “rendered worthless”.
But yesterday, councillor Maxine Smith said: “All I want to say is that we have debated this fully already and there is no need to re-examine our decision.”
Oliver Patent, head of development UK for WKN, welcomed the decision and said: “We are pleased to receive the support of Highland Council for a second time on Sallachy windfarm after the council reaffirmed its position on the project to Scottish ministers.
“Now that the project has been considered by Highland Council under the new planning policy, we look forward to a final decision being made by Scottish ministers.
“We welcome the support of the local communities for Sallachy windfarm and believe it is vital that the view of the communities who live in Sutherland are heard.”
An SSE spokeswoman said: “The Glencassley site was chosen specifically in order to ensure the wind farm would have minimal visual impact on the surrounding area.
“The proposal itself has been sensitively designed over many years and will not affect the integrity of the national scenic area. Indeed it is located adjacent to the existing Achany wind farm and will utilise some of that site’s infrastructure.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding