Finding the electricity generated would make a significant contribution to renewable energy targets and was supported by national policy, the ministers agreed with their reporter that the upland landscape was already altered by other windfarm development and any adverse landscape or visual impacts were not sufficient to withhold consent. All other environmental impacts were judged acceptable subject to mitigation secured through conditions, and the windfarm was held to be sustainable development.
In reaching their decision the ministers did not treat as determinative the appellant company’s offer to fund investigation of the possibility of shared ownership with the community, although the reporter had recommended a planning obligation to secure such. The ministers considered that while the economic benefits of this approach, in terms of building businesses, alternative sources of income and community resilience, may be a material planning consideration, ownership was not itself a material consideration.
Reporter: Michael Shiel; Inquiry