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Windfarm plan nodded through

Highland councillors yesterday (TUES) nodded through a radically revised windfarm proposal without a debate despite claims that they had not been provided with key information.

Two leading activists had written to members of the north planning committee to highlight their point.

Due to the scale of the 19-turbine Corriemoillie (CORRECT) development, a final decision rests with Scottish Government ministers.

Councillors were offered the opportunity to comment as statutory consultees.

French firm EDF Energy’s revised submission was for more powerful turbines, featuring larger blades, for its scheme at Gorstan near Garve.

Anti-windfarm campaigner Brenda Herrick, who had written to members, said: “I was completely shocked.

“The planning report omitted to state that the tubine hub height was reduced in order to allow a considerable increase in blade length amounting to a total change in rotor diameter.”

She claimed it would result in the turbines “appearing much larger and having a considerably increased detrimental effect visually.”

Fellow activist Lyndsey Ward added: “It beggars belief that this was rubber-stamped without a question being asked. Has nothing changed that doesn’t warrant a closer look? It’s a dark day for local democracy.”

Head of planning and building standards, David Mudie, had told councillors that the 410ft Corriemoillie turbines were “consistent with the neighbouring Lochluichart Windfarm, although the blade length for that windfarm is 331ft and the proposal in front of you is 338ft.”

He said the turbine model had “already been agreed”.

Speaking afterwards, Sutherland SNP councillor George Farlow, a committee member, said the agenda item had gone through “despite persistent nay-sayers over long periods of time.”

The committee also approved a single 118ft tall turbine proposed for Harpsdale, Halkirk, in Caithness.

Meanwhile, Infinergy yesterday (TUES) began work on the first phase of its 17-turbine Tom nan Clach scheme on Dava Moor between Grantown and Nairn. It promises to power 21,800 homes and pay the local community £4.9million over the project’s 25-year lifetime.