Wednesday 13 Jun 2012 @ 15:21
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Planning consent refused for major wind farm
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has refused planning consent for a proposed wind farm at Spittal Hill, Caithness.
The Energy Minister found that the impact of the proposed wind farm on the occupants of nearby properties was too high, and that the cumulative impact of the wind farm on views when considered together with existing and consented wind farms nearby, was too high.
The application was for a 77.5MW, 30 turbine wind farm on a hill 1.2km north east of Spittal Village, Caithness and was submitted by Spittal Hill Windfarm Limited.
The local planning authority, the Highland Council, objected to the application and so a public local inquiry was held in May 2011, and following that inquiry an independent reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers recommended that consent should be refused.
Fergus Ewing said:
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 â€“ 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 impact of this proposed wind farm on the landscape, and the impact it would have on the homes of those who live closest to it, is too great."
The Scottish Government has determined 71 energy applications, including 55 renewable applications: 32 onshore wind, 1 offshore wind, 19 hydro, 4 wave and tidal; and 15 non-renewable projects since May 2007. The Scottish Government is currently considering another 46 applications of >50GW capacity including 40 renewables: 2 Hydro, 3 Biomass, 33 Onshore wind, 1 wave and 1 offshore wind.
On 24 April 2007 Spittal Hill Windfarm Ltd applied for consent to construct and operate the Spittal Hill wind farm, 1.2 km north-east of Spittal Village. The application was for 30 turbines, 27 110m high and 3 100m high, and had a total generating capacity of 77.5MW. The developers submitted Supplementary Environmental Information on 24 November 2009 and on 15 February 2011 submitted further supplementary information, including suggesting an alternative development of 27 turbines. The development has received 1546 objections and 1268 letters of support.
A Public Local Inquiry was held in Halkirk between 3 May and 13 May 2011. The Reporter inspected the site and surrounding viewpoints.