Wind farm extension held to have limited impact

Landscape and biodiversity effects would not be so significant as to justify refusing consent for more turbines at an Aberdeenshire wind farm, Scottish ministers have decided.

The developers proposed to add 16 turbines up to 125 metres high to the wind farm, boosting its generating capacity to 96MW. The site lay within the River Spey special area of conservation (SAC), designated for Atlantic salmon, otter, sea lamprey and freshwater mussels. Scottish Natural Heritage had confirmed that the SAC’s integrity would not be adversely affected, provided suitable mitigation was undertaken. The applicant also submitted further information on planting and landscaping intended to minimise the scheme’s visual and landscape impacts.

Endorsing the reporter's recommendations, ministers decided that the scheme’s impact on a site of special scientific interest could be ameliorated by implementing a forest plan and replanting. A condition allowing commencement to occur up to five years from the date of the consent was considered reasonable given the constraints, scale and complexity of constructing the scheme.

Reporter: Richard Dent; Inquiry

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