Highland councillors unanimously agreed today to object to a planning application to site a 34-turbine wind farm at Glenmorie, south of Ardgay.
A public inquiry will now be held into the hugely controversial plans, which attracted more than 300 objections from the public.
Ardross, Edderton, Ardgay and District and Invergordon Community Councils also registered their hostility to the major development which would straddle Kildermorie and Glencalvie estates.
Several members of the north planning applications committee, led by Councillor Maxine Smith, backed the deluge of objectors and warned about the impact on residents and the landscape because there were already a plethora of wind farms in the area.
Despite the proposal being recommended for approval by the council’s own planning officer, the committee will now officially raise an objection to the scheme with the government, which has the final say.
That means a public inquiry will now have to be held.
The SNP government has ambitious renewable energy targets and Councillor Smith said she supported them in principle.
But she warned there was a glut of wind farms in the area already and another 35 turbines would be a step too far because of the cumulative effect.
“So far in the Highlands we have 41 wind farms operational or in development and there are another 48 in planning or scoping; this would bring the total up to 89 wind farms,” said Councillor Smith.
“I think it could be said that the Highlands are more than doing their bit for renewables.”
She moved a successful motion which was uncontested that the wind farm would be significantly detrimental to the landscape.
Ward colleague Mike Finlayson said: “It is a wonderful strath, one of the few straths we have left which leads you to a wild area.”
However, North West and Central Sutherland member George Farlow questioned whether it was wise to object because the authority could then “lose control” in dictating the development’s conditions.
Councillor Farlow also queried the alleged impact on wild land. “I don’t agree that empty land is the same as wild land,” he said.
However, he did not oppose the motion.
After hearing the decision, an obviously thrilled John Edmondson, secretary of Ardross Community Council said: “Ardross Community Council members are delighted to hear that members have considered huge impact issues and have come down in our favour.
“It is also very important that this was a unanimous decision.”
- More on this in Friday’s NT.