Planning decision-makers to visit proposed site of controversial Highland windfarm

HIGHLAND councillors are to carry out a site visit before deciding on a controversial 34-turbine windfarm proposal in Ross-shire.

• Objectors say new wind farm would be “intrusively visible”

• Hillwalkers say development would open flood-gates

Edinburgh-based Glenmorie Wind Energy has lodged a planning application to build the massive development, involving 410ft-high turbines, between Ardross and Ardgay.

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Over 300 objections have been lodged against the proposal, including from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS), which claims approval of the scheme would send a message that the Highlands was “open house for massive industrial-scale wind farms”.

The body, which represents 11,000 climbers and hillwalkers, say the proposed development would be “intrusively visible” from Munro mountains such as Ben Wyvis, Beinn Dearg and those in the Fannichs.

The proposal went before Highland Council’s North Planning Committee on Tuesday.

Planning officials had recommended approval but councillors agreed to carry out a site visit before deciding on the application.

Because of its scale, the proposed scheme would then go to the Scottish Government for a final decision.

MCofS Chief Officer David Gibson said: “We are talking here about one of Scotland’s finest mountain areas, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and one which visitors from around the world associate with Scotland’s unique natural heritage.

“Unless the Highland Council object in the strongest possible terms to this intrusive proposal, they will demonstrate a lack of stewardship and send a strong message to the renewables industry that the highlands of Scotland are open house for massive industrial-scale wind farms.”