Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has today refused planning consent for the Druim Ba proposed wind farm in the Blairmore Estate, near Drumnadrochit.
The Energy Minister concurred with the findings of the Public Inquiry Reporter that the number and height of the turbines would appear out of scale with the surrounding landscape and it would have significant adverse landscape and visual impacts.
Mr Ewing was also concerned that the visual impact from nearby properties and the likely noise from the proposal would be detrimental to the residential amenities of several nearby properties.
The original application submitted by Druim Ba Sustainable Energy Limited was for a 69MW, 23 turbine wind farm on Blairmore Estate, in the Highlands.
The Planning Authority, the Highland Council, objected the application stating that the developments conflicted with their planning policies and the size and massing of the proposed wind farm would have vast visual impact on properties and communities.
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 Scottish Government has determined 85 energy applications, including 58 renewable applications. Consent has been granted for 32 onshore wind, 1 offshore wind, 19 hydro, 4 wave and tidal; and 18 non-renewable projects since May 2007. Consent has been refused for 9 energy applications since May 2007 (including this refusal), all of which were onshore wind farms.
The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit is currently considering another 53 applications of >50MW capacity generating stations, including 48 onshore wind applications, 1 renewable hydro application, 2 non-renewable hydro applications, 2 renewable thermal applications. In addition to this there are 13 active applications for overhead lines, and 1 application for a Water Rights Order associated with a hydro development.