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Councillors advised not to object to Highland windfarm extension

A Highland community fighting plans to add 10 turbines to a windfarm in the hills above Loch Ness is “very disappointed” that councillors are being advised not to object to the development.

The local community council has objected to the application that Falck Renewables Wind Ltd has submitted to the Scottish Government for permission to increase the size of its 26-turbine Millennium Windfarm at Glenmoriston.

But Highland Council’s head of planning and building standards, Ken McCorquodale, is recommending members raise no objection to the turbines, which would be more than 430ft, when they discuss the proposal at a meeting of the south planning applications committee in Inverness on Tuesday.

In his report he points out that the nearest house is more than two miles from the nearest turbine and it is in line with the local development plan.

And he states: “The degree of additional visual impact is seen as being quite limited when the existing Millennium turbines are taken into account.”

The additional turbines would produce 35MW of electricity. A new application of this size would be determined by the local authority, but is being handled by the government because it is an extension to an existing development.

Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Council chairman Stuart Findlay said: “I am very disappointed that there is a no objection recommendation as this is the third extension to the Millennium Windfarm on the Aberchalder and Achlain estates.

“We didn’t object to the original application for 16 turbines or the previous two extensions that took the number up to 26, but we now feel that enough is enough.”

And he pointed out that there were already four consented windfarms in the area – Millennium, Beinneun, Bhlaraidh and Stronelairg – with the nearest turbines in the Millennium and Beinneun developments being less than a mile apart.

Mr Findlay added that he hoped councillors would ignore the recommendation.

Highland anti-windfarm campaigner Lyndsey Ward said: “The biggest disappointment is the cumulative impact of all the windfarms in the Highlands,

“But I’m also disappointed that this application for an extension is being determined by the government rather than locally.”

Falck Renewables project manager, Richard Dibley, said: “This is an extension to an existing windfarm, which will have very minimal visual impact.”