Wind farm approved despite impact fears

Renewable energy generation and economic benefits have led Scottish Ministers to approve a 22-turbine wind farm in the Scottish Highlands, despite a significant impact on recently designated "wild land".

Scottish Ministers considered the application, which received no objections from the Highlands Council, holding that a public local inquiry was not necessary. The 22-turbine proposal covered an area of 365 hectares in the northern Highlands and would produce 78 megawatts of electricity, powering 36,000 homes and creating an estimated £9 million in community benefits.

The site was a minimum of 2.6km from the nearest village, but 5 of the 22 turbines were located in one of 42 recently designated "wild land" areas that were recently designated nationally through Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). Wild lands had been identified in 2014 as areas that had the highest wilderness value.

In giving consideration to the environmental issue, ministers held that there would be a significant impact on the wild land that could not be overcome. However, given that only 5 turbines affected the very edge of a designated wild area, they found that the extent of this significant impact was limited. They concluded that other issues could all be addressed through mitigation and that, on balance, the economic and energy benefits outweighed the environmental harm. 

Scottish Ministers’ Decision


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