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It stands at 252ft tall but controversial Coll wind turbine blades have still not turned once

A huge wind turbine which caused controversy when it was being assembled on the idyllic isle of Coll is out of action.

Landowner Neil Smith, director of Gallanach Green Generation, was granted planning permission to build the 252ft structure at Gallanach Farm.

But the blades have never turned since the turbine was installed several months ago.

Islanders were furious last year when machinery was landed on the beach and the developer started building a road.

Locals watched in horror as machines were driven across the pristine white sand.

Argyll and Bute Council got an interim interdict to halt the works.

Councillor Roddy McCuish of the Oban South and the Isles ward of the council said: “Councillor Neil MacIntyre and I were absolutely astounded when we visited Coll last week for one of our regular surgeries to find out this turbine which had caused so much grief and anxiety in the community hadn’t turned a blade since it was erected.

“We are going back to the planning authority to see if there are any conditions that this turbine has to be working before a certain date. If it is in breach of its planning conditions we will be asking the authority to have it dismantled.

“At the moment it is standing like the Statue of Liberty on Coll doing absolutely nothing.

“Our main worry is that if this turbine has to be repaired the whole beach will be vandalized again. The machair and beach have only just recovered from the last time.”

Paula Smalley, member of the Coll Liaison Group, said: “It has been up for months and it has never worked.

“It caused a real stooshie. Now it seems like a complete waste of time.”

The firm had been unable to transport the large components on Coll’s small roads. The council had expected the firm to upgrade the existing road but instead started building its own.

The interim interdict was later lifted following legal negotiations and the equipment was brought in via a track on the beach.

Mr Smith could not be contacted yesterday.

A council spokeswoman said: “The council understands that the apparatus is currently not generating electricity due to a broken generator. The applicant has stated that the repair can be carried out using like for like parts and small apparatus / crane.

“There is a condition that states that if the wind turbine fails to produce electricity supply to a local grid for a continuous period of 12 months then it will be deemed to have ceased to be required. We will continue to monitor the situation.”