Members of the North Planning Applications Committee have unanimously agreed to raise an objection to the planned Garvary Wind Farm.
Meeting in Inverness today, councillors decided to heed the recommendation of planners and signal their opposition to the 25-turbine development put forward by developers Coriolis Energy and ESB.
An area of land some 4.5 south of Lairg and 5.5km north of Bonar Bridge has been identified for the scheme.
Councillors were principally concerned about the visual impact of the proposed wind farm and particularly from the Struie View Point – known as the “Millionaire’s View”.
Councillor Maxine Smith, Cromarty Firth Ward said: “It is a massively iconic viewpoint. We take tours there when the cruise ships come in (to Invergordon) and they love it. It would be hugely visually detrimental to the Millionaire’s View to have a wind farm on the horizon”.
Cllr Richard Gale, East Sutherland and Edderton, voiced his concern over the cumulative effect Garvary would have along with other wind farms in the area.
“As you all know part of the role of this committee is to look at every application on its own merit, ” he said.
“But in this instance the cumulative effect of this development is so significant that we are turning that particular part of Sutherland into an industrial landscape. There is an over proliferation of wind turbines. There is no question in my mind that this is a development too far.”
Cllr Gale added that he was also concerned about communications received from the developers which focused on the community benefit to be gained from Garvary Wind Farm.
“That is not a material planning consideration – it is a promise of jam tomorrow,” he said.”Are we going to sell all of our landscapes for crumbs from the developers’ table? I do not think this is acceptable in any way.”
Cllr Gale also spoke about the concerns expressed by Rogart Community Council over an increase in wind farm construction traffic that Garvary would cause through the community.
The application for planning consent for the 150mw Garvary Wind Farm will be decided by Scottish Ministers – they are responsible for approving developments with capacities exceeding 50 megawatts. However, Highland Council is a statutory consultee.
Garvary Wind Farm development manager James Baird said following the meeting: “We are disappointed with the decision today as we have taken on board previous comments from Highland Council to improve the proposal. We will now reflect on the comments from officers and councillors.
“We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to speak with us on our proposal to date.
“If the project is given the go-ahead, it will produce renewable energy, benefit local crofters, provide community benefit, a development officer fund and shared ownership opportunities. We also are committed to working with local businesses to deliver the project and using the local supply chain.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding