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Appeal gives firm OK for tall turbines

Redesign plans for a controversial wind farm that will see fewer – but taller – turbines erected have been approved by the Scottish Government.

Renewable energy company Infinergy won an appeal for the redesign of the Tom nan Clach development at Glenferness, after its proposals to reduce the number of turbines from 17 to 13 were initially rejected by Highland Council.

The local authority had also rejected the original plans before they were also approved on appeal – as well as an application to extend the length of time planning permission was valid from three years to five.

Construction started on site in early June just ahead of the expiry of the original permission, with the redesign appeal being considered by the Scottish Government as work was ongoing.

Infinergy says new technological developments will allow them to produce around a quarter more energy than originally envisaged with a smaller number of turbines, though these will be taller than those originally planned, with an increase in blade tip height from 110m to 125m.

The firm’s managing director Esbjorn Wilmar said: “We are delighted with this decision. The redesign will increase the renewable electricity generated on the site by approximately 26 per cent, using fewer turbines and their associated infrastructure.

“We started construction of the wind farm’s access tracks this summer and we are thrilled that it will be the better project that gets to be built on this fantastic site for wind energy.”

The wind farm lies within the Drynachan, Lochindorb and Dava Moor Special Landscape Area and Infinergy’s proposals had attracted more than 1000 objections including from protest group Strathdearn Against Windfarm Development.

The group’s convenor Pat Wells had previously objected to the redesign saying the larger turbines meant the visual impact would be even worse than what had originally been proposed.

Five community councils had also lined up against the scheme – East Nairnshire, Dulnain Bridge, Carrbridge, Grantown and Strathdearn.

Cawdor and West Nairnshire, however, had supported it as it would allow nearly 20,000 homes to be supplied with renewable energy and save a significant amount of CO2.