The Scot-Govt. has rejected an appeal by PI Renewables to build a 14-turbine industrial wind farm near Ben Wyvis because the blade tips would have reached to a height of 115 metres.
Following a public inquiry, the Reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers, has dismissed the appeal which sought to overturn the refusal of planning permission by Highlands Cooncil at base elevations of around 400-450m on the south flank of Little Wyvis, which would have been just 5 km from Ben Wyvis itself.
The Reporter found that the development would have had significant visual impacts on the Ben Wyvis massif and in particular from An Cabar, part of the most popular route up Ben Wyvis itself.
He also found that the development would have a number of significant individual effects and contribute to cumulative impacts on Wild Land Area 29.
David Gibson, Chief Executive, Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said: “We welcomed the original decision by Highland Council’s North Planning Committee to refuse permission and are clearly pleased that the Reporter has dismissed the appeal.
“We hope that this decision sends a further strong message to those who seek to develop the area around Ben Wyvis in particular, and Scotland’s fantastic resource of wild land further afield.”
“Scotland’s wild land is continually and rapidly diminishing in the face of wind farm developments. Because of this we further call on Highland Council’s South Planning Committee to refuse permission for the Culachy Wind Farm when it meets today (10 Nov 2015).
“That development would see 13 turbines – each up to 490ft tall – set within the already-reduced Creag Meagaidh Wild Land Area and close to two National Scenic Areas and several Special Landscape Areas.”
John Low, Policy Officer for the John Muir Trust, gave evidence at the planning inquiry in late August. He said: “This decision emphasises the strong protection for wild land promised by the Scottish Government last year.
“We are especially heartened that in his 20-page ruling, the Scottish Government Reporter highlighted the detrimental impact on Wild Land Area 29 of the proposed scheme.
“In support of his decision, he also cited the latest Scottish Planning Policy, which points out that many of our more remote upland, mountain and coastal areas have little or no capacity to accept new development.
“Coming on top of a series of recent rulings to protect wild land at Glen Affric, Caithness, Highland Perthshire and the Monadhliath Mountainsthis latest decision suggests that the Wild Land Areas map seems to have introduced consistency into the decision-making process.