The latest plans for a controversial windfarm in a Moray beauty spot are set to be rejected by councillors next week after record levels of opposition.
More than 1,300 people have lodged objections with Moray Council to a proposed 12-turbine development at Brown Muir, midway between Fogwatt and Rothes.
The application will be considered at a special meeting of the council’s planning and regulatory services committee on Tuesday.
The local authority’s planning officers have recommended that members refuse to grant building permission due to “unacceptable significant adverse landscape and visual effects”.
Members of the Save the Brown Muir action group have fiercely opposed the development since plans first appeared in 2012.
Lhanbryde resident and group member George Herraghty said: “If the councillors follow the recommendation and turn the planning application down, I think there will be champagne corks popping all over Moray.
“As far as we are concerned, it is the highest number of objections ever received in Moray.
“We will wait until Tuesday, of course, but it is absolutely wonderful news and the champagne will be on ice.”
The official planning report recognised a reduction in the number of turbines compared to an earlier application by the developer for the site.
However, it added: “Policy may indicate support for a development which contributes towards the transition to a low carbon economy, but it requires the quality of the natural and built environment to be safeguarded.
“This would not be achieved here in terms of the number, height and siting of the turbines and the resultant unacceptable and significant adverse landscape and visual impacts to Brown Muir and the surrounding locality.”
Mike Kelly, Head of Development for developer Vento Ludens said: “We are very disappointed at the planning officer’s recommendation. We feel we addressed the issues raised when we made our previous application. We went back to the drawing board and redesigned the wind farm.
“A key part of the redesign was the removal of the most prominent turbines from the ridge at Brown Muir. We also moved the remaining turbines to respond constructively to the feedback.
“There will always be people who don’t like wind farms wherever they are located, but we are confident that our new design has addressed many people’s concerns, particularly the biggest issue which was the row of turbines on the ridge of Brown Muir hill.
“Whatever the outcome, we believe we worked hard to consult with the local community and other stakeholders which has been acknowledged by a number of people.”
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