14-turbine onshore wind farm allowed on appeal despite council's landscape impact concerns

A reporter has overturned a council's refusal of plans for a 14-turbine wind farm in an appeal decision, dismissing the authority's concerns that a 19km access track proposed as part of the scheme would be "significantly detrimental to the landscape".

Wind power: Scottish scheme approved
Wind power: Scottish scheme approved

Highland Council had refused the Dell Wind Farm at the Dell Estate in Whitebridge, Inverness, in October 2017.

The council’s reasons for refusing the application related to the landscape and visual impacts of a proposed 19-km access track to the wind farm.

It considered that the proposed wind turbines would sit well in the landscape, seen in the context of existing wind farm developments, but was concerned with the landscape and visual impacts of the access track, a concern supported by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. 

However, in the reporter's opinion, the character of the area was already affected, to some degree, by existing tracks and wind farms, and although new sections of track would need to be formed and areas of moorland and heath displaced, the proposal sought to lessen the impact and included various measures which, in time, were likely to reduce its visual effect.

She felt the proposal would contribute towards meeting renewable energy generation targets, would have a positive effect on the local and national economy and was in accordance overall with the council’s development plan.

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