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07/06/13 10:01

Planning consent refused for major wind farm

Impact of proposed development would be too high.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has today refused planning consent for a proposed wind farm at Dunbeath Estate, Caithness.

The Energy Minister found that the impact of the proposed wind farm on the landscape character and lack of safeguarding for nearby wild land was too high. In addition he considered that the significant cumulative impacts from other nearby wind farms and adverse visual impacts on recreational receptors and road users would be too severe.

The original application submitted by Dunbeath Wind Energy Limited was for a 69MW, 23 turbine wind farm on Dunbeath Estate, southwest of Wick. However after several revisions this was reduced to a 17 turbine proposal.

The local planning authority, the Highland Council, did not object to the application, however due to the objection maintained by Scottish Natural Heritage the Minister took the decision to call a public local inquiry. The inquiry was held in Dunbeath, and following that inquiry an independent reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers recommended that consent should be refused.

Energy Minster Fergus Ewing said:

“Scotland has enormous potential for renewable energy that is delivering jobs and investment across Scotland, and I am determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefit from renewable energy – but not at any cost and we will ensure a balanced approach in taking forward this policy, as we have in the past and will in future.

“The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places and Scottish planning policy is clear that the design and location of any wind farm should reflect the scale and character of the landscape and should be considered environmentally acceptable.

“The significant adverse impacts of this proposed wind farm on nearby wild land and key landscape characteristics in conjunction with the cumulative effects with other wind farms and visual impacts on recreational and road users is too great.”

Notes to editors

  • The Scottish Government has determined 79 energy applications, including 56 renewable applications: 32 onshore wind, 1 offshore wind, 19 hydro, 4 wave and tidal; and 17 non-renewable projects since May 2007. The Scottish Government has previously rejected 6 energy applications since May 2007, all of which were onshore wind farms.

  • The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit is currently considering another 44 applications of >50MW capacity generating stations, including 42 renewables: 2 Hydro, 4 Biomass, 36 Onshore wind, plus 2 non-renewable Hydro. In addition to this there are 11 active applications for overhead lines, and 0 pipeline applications