The Highland Council’s north planning committee has today rejected SSE’s application to erect 47 wind turbines at a site just south of Strathy.
The decision was based on continuing objections from Scottish Natural Heritage who say “the proposal could raise natural heritage issues of national interest and has maintained its objection until further clarification is obtained from the applicant with regard to the interests pertaining to the Caithness and Sutherland peatlands SPA.”
There was a group of RSPB protestors gathered at the council HQ prior to the meeting, expressing their objection to the application, which will now go to a public local enquiry.
Planning officials had advised the committee to raise no objection - provided eight turbines were removed - and the local community council supported the application.
However, Melvich Community Council objected and there were 184 individual objections and just 20 in support.
After the meeting, SSE’s lead director of wholesale generation development Colin Nicol said: “This is a very disappointing decision by Highland Council’s North Planning Committee but we look forward to the next stage of the process to address the SNH issues.
“A great deal of hard work has gone into developing this project over the years, working with the local community and key stakeholders. SSE is a responsible developer with a longstanding Highland heritage, this £200m project will deliver a significant contribution to renewable energy targets and jobs and substantial investment to an area of rural Scotland with a fragile economy."More on this in Friday’s NT.