The Scottish government accepted a recommendation from a reporter than 16 additional turbines up to 125 metres high to blade tip should be added to an operational wind farm, boosting the generating capacity to 96MW.
The site lay within the river Spey special area of conservation (SAC) designated for Atlantic salmon, otter, sea lamprey and freshwater mussels. Scottish Natural Heritage had confirmed that the integrity of the SAC would not be adversely affected provided suitable mitigation was undertaken. The applicant had also submitted further information on woodland planting and landscaping which would minimise the visual and landscape impacts.
The residual impacts on landscape and biodiversity would not be so significant as to justify refusing consent for the scheme, the ministers decided. The impact on a SSSI could be ameliorated through implementing a wind farm forest plan and replanting. A condition allowing commencement to occur up to five years from the date of the consent was considered reasonable given the constraints, scale and complexity of constructing the scheme.
Reporter: Richard Dent; Inquiry