Campaigners are celebrating after a wind farm developer lost its appeal against refusal of planning permission for 14 turbines near an iconic Munro in the Highlands.
Highland Council had refused a proposal by PI Renewables for the windfarm on the slopes of Carn Gorm near Ben Wyvis, north of Inverness
A Scottish Government planning officer has now dismissed the appeal.
The company had sought permission for the wind farm about five miles (8km) south west of the Munro in Ross-shire.
However, the reporter found that the development would have had significant visual impacts on the Ben Wyvis massif and in particular from An Cabar, part of the most popular route up Ben Wyvis itself.
He also found that the development would have a number of significant individual effects and contribute to cumulative impacts on Wild Land Area 29.
Mountaineering Council of Scotland chief executive David Gibson said: “We welcomed the original decision by Highland Council’s north planning committee to refuse permission and are clearly pleased that the Reporter has dismissed the appeal. We hope this decision sends a further strong message to those who seek to develop the area around Ben Wyvis in particular.
“Scotland’s wild land is continually and rapidly diminishing in the face of wind farm developments. Because of this we call on Highland Council’s south planning committee to refuse permission for the Culachy Wind Farm when it meets tomorrow.
“That development would see 13 massive turbines, up to 490ft tall, set within the already reduced Creag Meagaidh Wild Land Area and close to two National Scenic Areas and several Special Landscape Areas.”
Conservation charity the John Muir Trust also welcomed the decision as a crucial victory.
Policy officer John Low, who gave evidence at the public local inquiry, said: “Coming on top of a series of recent rulings to protect wild land at Glen Affric, Caithness, Highland Perthshire and the Monadhliath Mountains, this latest decision suggests that the Wild Land Areas map seems to have introduced consistency into the decision-making process. We now hope that energy companies will get the message that future applications for large-scale wind farms impacting on Wild Land Areas are likely to fail.”
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