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Windfarm plan refused for the impact it would have on Cairngorms

A controversial windfarm proposal has been thrown out by the Scottish Government due to unacceptable impact on the Cairngorms National Park.

Ministers have refused consent for the 31-turbine development at Allt Duine near Kincraig.

The controversial 31-turbine development was planned to be sited wholly within a government-designated Wild Land area in the Monadhliath mountains, near Kincraig, Aviemore and Kingussie.

The development was to be on the Alvie, Balavil, Dalraddy and Dunachton estates and straddles the boundary of Cairngorms National Park.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney concluded the plan did not represent sustainable development as it would result in significant and unacceptable landscape and visual impacts on the Cairngorms National Park, an area of national importance for its natural and cultural heritage, and on wild land.

The decision follows a public local inquiry and Scottish Government consultations on the potential impacts of the wind farm on the Cairngorms National Park and on the implications of the development on new planning policies.

Mr Swinney said: “The Scottish Government’s policy on wind farms strikes a careful balance between maximising Scotland’s huge green energy potential and protecting some of our most scenic landscape and wild areas.

“We have been clear that wind farms can only be built in the right places and Scottish Planning Policy sets out rigorous steps to ensure wind farms are sited appropriately and sensitively.

“I have considered the Allt Duine application fully and have refused permission as the proposal would have a significant and unacceptable landscape and visual impacts in the local area, including on the Cairngorms National Park and on a wild land area.

“The Scottish Government remains fully committed to renewables and to achieving our target of 100 per cent of our electricity demand coming from renewables by 2020.”

The proposed turbines, the majority standing at 125m tall, would have been visible from nearly 26,000 hectares of the Cairngorms National Park, including landmark high points such as the Ptarmigan restaurant and popular Munros including Ben Macdui, Cairn Gorm and Braeriach.

The application, by RWE Innogy, was opposed by all statutory consultees, including the government’s own advisers Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency,

Cairngorms National Park Authority and Highland Council.

Kincraig and Vicinity Community Council also opposed the scheme, as were 73 per cent of locals polled in a referendum held in January.

Updated planning regulations have banned onshore wind farms in national parks and national scenic areas.