The application to build the Talladh-a-bheithe wind farm – which would have seen 24 wind turbines, together with bulldozed access tracks, buildings and infrastructure on an area of raised moorland between Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht – has been ruled ‘not competent’ by Scottish Ministers.
The decision by the Scot-Govt’s Energy Directorate noted that the application was received on 23 June 2014, but that the applicant, Talladh-A-Bheithe Wind Farm Limited, was not registered as a company until August 28 that year.
Dave Gordon, Director for Landscape and Access at the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) said he was delighted to hear the news.
He said: “Although the decision was based on a specific legal point, which meant that the application was not competent, many people thought the very idea of wind farm in such an unspoilt area was incompetent. We hope that Rannoch is now free forever from the threat of wind turbines and does not have to suffer repeated applications, as many communities have.”
The MCofS campaigned against the planning application because of the major visual impact of such a large scale development, which it argued was not necessary in order to meet Scottish Government objectives for renewable energy generation.
If given the go-ahead, it would have affected views from Schiehallion, the Ben Alder massif, the mountains above Glen Lyon and Loch Tay and some above the Drumochter Pass. It would even have been visible from the main A82 on the far side of Rannoch Moor and from Buachaille Etive Mor beyond.
At the time, David Gibson, Chief Executive of the Mountaineering Council, stated: “Any presumed benefit from this development would be far outweighed by the damage it would do to such a distinctive landscape which is vital not only to Highland Perthshire’s identity but also to Scotland’s international image.”
A campaign against the proposal involved local residents under the ‘Keep Rannoch Wild’ banner, the John Muir Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and American novelist Diana Gabaldon, whose ‘Outlander’ novels were filmed in the area for the popular television series.