COUNCILLORS have delayed their decision on a controversial wind farm in an area of wild land in favour of a site visit.
The 22-turbine Creag Riabhach wind farm scheme is being proposed by Altnaharra Estate in conjunction with a private local company.
The development would be sited west of Altnaharra on the A836 road.
At a meeting in Inverness yesterday, members of the North Planning Applications Committee agreed it would be more appropriate to hold a site visit before making a decision on the development.
The council received 63 objections and 84 letters of support. However, the Scottish Government, which will make the final decision, has received 209 objections and six letters of support.
The scheme would include a substation, two anemometer masts, site access tracks, access points with the A836, a new bridge over the River Vagastie and cable trenches.
Part of the site has been recognised by the Scottish Government as an area of wild land.
And there are also 34 scheduled monuments and five listed buildings within the zone of theoretical visibility.
Those supporting the scheme have argued that it would provide clean energy, bring welcome investment and would not spoil the scenery as there are “miles and miles of landscape to enjoy”.
Those against the plans say the wind farm and associated works would be “a blot on the landscape” and would impact on peat, which is a valued carbon sink.
Tim Philpot, director of Creag Riabhach Wind Farm Ltd, said today: “We are pleased that councillors will be taking the time to come to Altnaharra to see the village, working estate, and our proposed site for themselves before determining our application.
“We believe that this will allow them to better understand our proposals and we look forward to continuing to work with the council as the application progresses.”
A date will be set in due course for a site visit.