Loch Ness windfarm project given new lease of life

Plans for a 12-turbine windfarm in the hills above Loch Ness are back on track following a successful appeal by an energy firm.

Plans for a wind farm project above Loch Ness has been granted a reprieve. Picture: Ian Rutherford

RES has welcomed the decision by the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) to give the go ahead to the Aberarder meteorological (met) mast application.

The met mast will measure 51.5 metres and will be a temporary structure for up to three years – allowing RES to measure the wind resource on the site.

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Although the application was originally recommended for approval by Highland Council officers, it was refused at the South Planning Applications Committee on a split vote in June 2015.

RES appealed the decision and the go ahead for the met mast will allow them to proceed with the project.

The met mast site is located next to the consented Dunmaglass Wind Farm and is approximately 6km south of East Croachy.

The site is not within or nearby any designated natural heritage sites and the nearest residential property is situated over 4km.

RES also has an application currently being considered by Highland Council for Aberarder Wind Farm, a proposed 12 turbine wind farm that will be a natural extension to SSE Renewables’ consented Dunmaglass Wind Farm.

RES, a UK company employing over 100 staff in Scotland, has developed three wind farms in the Highlands and works with local companies to help deliver its projects.

Following the decision, RES development manager John Appleton said: “We are pleased that the Aberarder met mast has been given the go ahead.

“We believe the location is a good area for a wind development, acting as a natural extension to Dunmaglass Wind Farm, and the met mast will assist us in understanding the wind resource over the Aberarder site.

“We will keep the local community updated on our progress with the met mast.”

Last year Highland councillors rejected plans for the wind speed mast, which will now be built on Aberarder Estate within the Monadhliath mountain range south of Inverness.

The council leader Margaret Davidson led calls to reject the plans, raising concern about its “inappropriate height and scale”, adding that it would be “significantly detrimental to the landscape”.