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Black Isle votes ‘no’ to wind turbines

People in the Black Isle have voted against a controversial community wind farm plan.

A postal ballot of residents in the Highland Council’s Ward 10 area returned a 54.4 per cent against developing the three turbines at Millbuie Forest near Culbokie.

The turnout was 56.7 per cent.

David Fraser, of the campaign group No Black Isle Wind Farm, said: “This is a good day for the Black Isle and its precious environment.

“We believe the community has made a wise decision, looking to the long-term future of the Black Isle.

“It is also a good decision for the sensible use of public funds. It would have been wrong to have spent an additional £150,000 of scarce public money on a windfarm development which we believe made little financial or environmental sense.”

The wind turbines plan was being mooted by local group Black Isle Community Energy (BICE)

It hoped to plough the money from the power generation back into community projects.

However it needed to show the Forestry Commission, which owns the proposed site, that a majority of local people were in favour of the plan before it could secure the land.

The project was being brought under the National Forest Land Scheme.

BICE chairman Martin Sherring said it was disappointing the project had failed by such a small margin.

But he said: “On the positive side, it was good to have engaged with so many people on the important issues of securing funding for community development, and of course reducing our carbon footprint.”

There were no plans to revisit the Millbuie Forest turbines plan, he said, but believed that given the level of support for the idea it would be good to explore other ideas for either green energy or for reducing energy waste.

RESULTS:

• 56.7 % turnout (4,884 votes)

• 4 invalid votes

• 45.6% of valid votes were Yes (2,225) votes

• 54.4 % of valid votes were No (2,655)