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Controversial windfarm northwest of Grantown is refused

By Tom Ramage

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A controversial plan for 17 wind turbies near Lochindorb some 10km north-west of Grantown has been refused by Scottish Ministers.

The Scottish Government's Energy Consents Unit announced the refusal last night.

A photomontage of how one angle would look of the Lethen development (Fred Olsen).
A photomontage of how one angle would look of the Lethen development (Fred Olsen).

Scotland Against Spin reported: “The Scottish Ministers acknowledge that there are environmental effects from the proposed development resulting in significant visual and landscape impacts as well as impacts on some SLQs (Special landscape qualities) of the (Cairngorms National) Park and on the special qualities of the SLA (Special landscape area) which cannot be mitigated."

The ECU's official notification to the Strathy was simply "Refused" regarding the application from Fred. Olsen Renewables for permission to build17 wind turbines up to 185 m blade tip height when vertical, each being around six megawatt (MW) in power rating.

The combined generation capacity of the turbines would be approximately 102 MW, supported by additional energy storage provision with an output capacity of around 10 MW.


The associated infrastructure would include: site access, access tracks, crane hardstandings, underground cabling, on-site substation and maintenance building, energy storage facility, temporary construction compounds, laydown area, potential excavations/borrow workings and a permanent meteorological mast.

SAS posted: "The proposed development would result in significant adverse impacts on the integrity of the setting of Lochindorb Castle scheduled monument, which could not be mitigated without significantly altering the design and positioning of the proposed development.

"Consequently, the proposed development is contrary to NPF4 Policy 7(h)."


In 2022 the Strathy reported "the winds of change are being detected in planning policy for turbines on the doorstep of the Cairngorms National Park, it is being claimed.

"There have been frequent complaints by planning committee members in the past that a ring of steel is forming round the region's boundary such is the proliferation of wind farms."

The had welcomed the refusal by Scottish Ministers of plans for 39 turbines at Glenshero by Laggan reaching 135 metres at tip height.

The proposal by SIMEC Wind One Ltd – owned by the under-fire GFG Alliance group – in the southern Monadhliath was turned down because of its visual impact. At the same meeting, the committee agreed to object to plans on similar grounds by Fred. Olsen Renewables to develop a 17-turbine wind farm on Dava Moor.

The proposal for Lethen Wind Farm attracted strong opposition from local residents who have said its visual impact will destroy the setting of Lochindorb and its castle.

Badenoch and Strathspey councillor Bill Lobban stated at the time, last summer, that the application "made a mockery of the Dava moor Special Landscape Area" citation.

Highland Council maintained that the plans for a new wind farm about 16 miles south of Nairn showed “insufficient regard to preserving natural beauty of the countryside”.

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