Published: 20/09/2011 15:09 - Updated: 21/09/2011 09:53

Councillors vote to oppose wind farm

Highland councillors visit the area close to the proposed Druim Ba wind farm.
Highland councillors visit the area close to the proposed Druim Ba wind farm.

Highland councillors have objected to controversial plans for a wind farm between Kiltarlity and Drumnadrochit.

Developer Druim Ba Sustainable Energy (DBSE) wants to site 23 turbines at Blairmore Forest.

But after visiting several locations in the Kiltarlity and Beauly areas to get an idea of the visual impact, the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey planning applications committee this afternoon opposed the application which will be decided by Scottish ministers. The committee’s objection means that a public local inquiry will now be held.

Reasons for the objection included the "significantly detrimental" visual impact on properties and communities near the site. It would also be against the council’s draft policy for onshore windfarms which seeks to create a visual break from large-scale windfarms northwards from the Great Glen to beyond Cannich and Beauly.

Before the meeting, campaigners flew a large red blimp close to the site to illustrate the height of the proposed turbines which at 490ft would be among the highest in Scotland.

Afterwards, they welcomed the committee’s decision.

Denise Davis, of the Druim Ba Say No group, said raising awareness about the windfarm had been their job for the last 15 months.

"Druim Ba’s proposal has been considered to be insensitively sited and the design in its entirety has disregarded the feelings, quality of life and survival of the livelihoods of the local residents who would be forced to live with it," she said.

"I am extremely pleased to see our local representatives have put aside personal opinions and party policy and have voted against this development." Debbie Chawner, a director of DBSE, was disappointed by the decision. "We continue to believe this is a great opportunity missed," she said.

* Buy Friday's Inverness Courier for more about the decision.
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