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Plans lodged for new windfarm near Helmsdale

Plans have been submitted for a new 18 turbine windfarm on a shooting estate in Sutherland.

The West Garty would be built on the estate of the same name, with turbines standing at 394ft if planning permission is granted.

An application has been lodged with Highland Council by developer West Garty Renewables, a consortium of local landowners, backed by Aberdeenshire based company Muirden Energy.

The turbines would be built between Glen Loth and Helmsdale on the south eastern slopes of Beinn Mhealaich and Culgower Hill on land currently used for deer stalking.

Previous plans, in the mid 1990s, for three separate schemes in the area were refused following a public inquiry.

The turbines would stand above the A9 Inverness to Thurso road – with the developer proposing access to the site comes from the trunk road.

Highland Council will be consulted on the planning application, although Scottish Government ministers will be required to give final permission.

In their report on the development, West Garty Renewables said that the design of the windfarm had been developed to minimise the impact on the surrounding landscape.

However, the plan has been met with concern by local residents and groups.

Brora Golf Club has been critical of proposals for turbines in the area.

Club president Alistair Risk said: “We were not in favour of the previous planning application.

“This would also be intrusive, dominating the skyline northwards from the golf club. It would have a detrimental effect on golf tourism business.”

Local community councils will be asked for their views on the development as part of the planning process.

West Garty Renewables have pledged to create a community benefit fund if planning permission is granted for the development.