Scottish ministers have given the go-ahead to plans for a 23 turbine windfarm near Loch Ness.
News that consent has been granted to the Corriegarth windfarm was announced just a day after an emotive new video highlighting the spread of turbines in the hills of the Great Glen.
NBW Wind Energy can now build turbines at the site near Gorthleck.
The scheme will have a capacity of up to 70MW – potentially enough to power 33,000 homes.
Highland Council originally granted permission for 20 turbines in 2010 but the company lodged revised plans for an enlarged scheme using different turbines in 2013.
The new consent replaces the existing planning permission.
Last night, an anti-windfarm campaigner said that he was “shocked” at Mr Ewing’s decision.
He said that the consent also “contradicted” the Scottish Government’s policy of “protecting the nation’s finest scenic landscape”.
He said: “I would ask Nicola Sturgeon as a matter of urgency to question Mr Ewing why he is contravening policy.”
He also suggested that the windfarm approval would jeopardise a bid for Unesco World Heritage status for Loch Ness.
And fellow campaigner Lyndsey Ward said: “The terrible reality is that these wind farms are being consented without the true picture being revealed to the general public of the amount of turbines that are being proposed across Scotland.
“There still are no up to date maps available from any source for the Highland region and despite that this government think it is acceptable to keep waving them through. What will it take for them to wake up to what is happening in other parts of the world where the wind industry is being challenged on its claims of potential generation and emissions saving.”
NBW Energy estimates that 245 jobs will be created during the construction, with up to five full-time positions available when the scheme is operational.
The company also claims that a community benefit fund will provide approximately £100,000 per annum to support local projects.
Mr Ewing said: “The Corriegarth Wind Farm will create a number of jobs, as well as generating power for many thousands of homes and provide considerable benefits to the local community.
“The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places, and Scottish planning policy is clear that the design and location of renewables projects should reflect the scale and character of the landscape, as well as being considered environmentally acceptable.”
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