The site spread over two kilometres of upland moorland with commercial forestry in an area identified in Scottish Planning Policy as generally acceptable for wind energy development. The council argued that just because the landscape was not designated and significant landscape effects were localised, this did not necessarily imply that the scheme was acceptable. It suggested a smaller-scale scheme over a reduced area with lower turbines to mitigate impact.
The reporter appreciated that the proposed structures, rising 149 metres from base to blade tip, were just one metre short of the definition of "very large turbines" for which the council’s landscape capacity study advised a more restrictive approach. However, her reading of the council’s guidance suggested that its primary objective was to avoid a dominant effect on adjacent smaller-scale landscapes.
She did not find that the topographically contained wind farm proposed would have such an effect. Weighing the landscape and visual effects of the larger development proposed against its greater renewable energy benefits, she concluded overall that it would comprise sustainable development.
Reporter: Allison Coard; Written representations