Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has refused planning consent for a proposed wind farm at Dunbeath Estate, Caithness.
The Energy Minister found that the impact of the proposed wind farm on the landscape character and lack of safeguarding for nearby wild land was too high. In addition he considered that the significant cumulative impacts from other nearby wind farms and adverse visual impacts on recreational receptors and road users would be too severe.
The original application submitted by Dunbeath Wind Energy Limited was for a 69MW, 23 turbine wind farm on Dunbeath Estate, southwest of Wick. However after several revisions this was reduced to a 17 turbine proposal.
The local planning authority, the Highland Council, did not object to the application, however due to the objection maintained by Scottish Natural Heritage the Minister took the decision to call a public local inquiry. The inquiry was held in Dunbeath, and following that inquiry an independent reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers recommended that consent should be refused.
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 benefit from renewable energy – but not at any cost and we will ensure a balanced approach in taking forward this policy, as we have in the past and will in future.
“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.
“The significant adverse impacts of this proposed wind farm on nearby wild land and key landscape characteristics in conjunction with the cumulative effects with other wind farms and visual impacts on recreational and road users is too great.”