CONTROVERSIAL plans for a 34-turbine wind farm in the Highlands have been thrown out by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.
He has refused planning consent for the Glenmorie project near Bonar Bridge, in Sutherland, which developers claimed would have generated up to 114MW of electricity, enough to power 61,000 homes.
The Energy Minister agreed with the findings of the Public Local Inquiry Reporter that the wind farm would cause unacceptable landscape and visual impacts, including on wild land.
There had been over 300 objections into the proposed development, and Highland Council unanimously opposed the project, prompting a four-day public inquiry.
The Highland Council objected, stating it would impact the landscape and scenery of the area.
Mr Ewing said:
“Scotland has enormous potential for renewable energy that is delivering jobs and investment across Scotland, and I am determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefits from renewable energy.
“We need a balanced approach in taking forward this policy and have to consider what impact any development would have on the local area.
“That is why I have refused permission for the proposed wind farm at Glenmorie, which would have had an unacceptable landscape and visual impact, including on the wild land, in the Highland Council area.”
He added: “The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places, and Scottish Planning Policy is clear that the design and location of any wind farm should reflect the scale and character of the landscape and should be considered environmentally acceptable.”
Glenmorie Wind Farm LLP Project Manager Lizzie Foot said “Glenmorie could have contributed to Scotland’s ambitious 100 per cent renewable electricity target and saved up to 112,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, whilst providing a significant number of jobs for Highland firms. We are very disappointed that this opportunity won’t be realised.”
She said Glenmorie Wind Farm was expected to support 100 jobs and generate contracts worth £46 million to the Scottish economy