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Wind masts refusal overturned by reporter

A windfarm developer has won its appeal against refusal of permission for two met masts on a Highland moor.

Vattenfall will install the two temporary anemometer masts at Dava Moor with a view to erecting turbines on the site.

The application for the full scheme, which is four miles north of Grantown, could now be lodged by the end of next year.

The site is close to the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park where windfarms are banned.

Highland Council voted 13-2 to reject the 295ft masts plans in April because it would spoil the “desolate” landscape.

The company lodged their appeal to the Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals in July.

But now reporter Michael Cunliffe has overturned the council’s decision, stating that the landscape and visual effects of the scheme would be minor, including limited visibility from the A940 Grantown-Forres road.

He said: “This is a large-scale landscape which in my view is capable of absorbing a structure of this kind without significant adverse effects.”

Referring to the number of representations to the council he added: “Insofar as some of them appear to be motivated by concern about a possible future application for a windfarm, which would have much greater impacts, I am required to judge the present appeal proposal on its merits and without regard to possible future developments.”

But there was also some good news for the council – they do not have to pay Vattenfall’s costs for bringing the appeal after the reporter said that the council had not acted in an unreasonable manner by refusing permission.

Vattenfall had argued that the council’s conduct was unreasonable because the appeal has incurred unnecessary expense in having to produce maps to demonstrate the masts’ impact on the landscape.

Frank Park, Vattenfall’s project manager for the Ourack Wind Energy Project, said: “Vattenfall is pleased that the reporter has upheld our appeal.

“We will continue to work closely with local residents as we shape the Ourack wind energy project.

“It can kick-start significant local investment and job creation. This decision to uphold our appeal brings that day closer.”