A renewable energy firm says it is taking time to consider its next steps after being refused planning permission for a new wind farm at Camster.
RWE Renewables wanted to install 11 turbines in its proposed Camster II Wind Farm development on land some 2000 metres north-west of Tannach Hill.
Its application was turned down by Highland Council, which ruled that the wind farm “would have a significantly detrimental visual impact”.
RWE now has three months to appeal to the Scottish Government under Section 47 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
A spokesperson for RWE said: “We are disappointed by the decision to refuse our application via delegated authority. We have worked hard to find a suitable design with the council’s experts but unfortunately we have been unable to reach an mutually agreeable position.
“We will now take the necessary time to consider the reasons for refusal and to decide on our next steps.”
The 11 turbines would have a maximum tip height of 126.5 metres and would be capable of producing up to 38MW of electricity.
The original Camster Wind Farm, situated nearby and consisting of 25 turbines with a tip height of up to 120m, was commissioned in 2012 and has an output of 50MW.
In its decision notice, the local authority said the development “would introduce a large-scale wind farm within close proximity to the existing Camster/Wathegar/Wathegar 2 and Achairn developments, filling in an area currently left open, creating a substantial array of turbines and changing the nature of this existing rural landscape to one which is characterised by wind farm development”.
It said this cumulative view “would be experienced in close proximity and on a daily basis by residents who live in and around the rural communities of Watten and rural areas including Newton Row, Tannach and Badlibster where the cumulative impact of wind energy development would significantly impact on the established level of amenity and the rural setting”.
The decision notice also said the wind farm would have “a significant impact on areas of deep peat”, while it “has not been satisfactorily demonstrated that the development confirms with the criteria detailed in the control of woodland removal policy”.
The application attracted four comments – three objections and one in support.