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Is this the end of the road for South Kilbraur Wind Farm? Would-be developer has second appeal against planning refusal quashed

By Caroline McMorran

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A POWER company has failed yet again in its protracted bid to build a controversial wind farm in East Sutherland.

South Kilbraur Wind Farm Limited's second appeal to overturn a planning refusal to build a wind farm at the top of Dunrobin Glen has been turned down.

The outcome comes as a relief to campaign group K2 Action Group who had vehemently opposed the seven turbine development, which would have been sited close to the existing Kilbraur Wind Farm.

The group said the turbines would have "loomed" over the glen.

Group leader Michael O'Reilly, Inchomney, Rogart, said: "We hope this will now put an end to wind farm developers' ambitions in our area.

Campaigner Michael O’ Reilly says the planning process is "skewed in favour of developers and against communities".
Campaigner Michael O’ Reilly says the planning process is "skewed in favour of developers and against communities".

"Unfortunately we have been living with this threat for more than three years and it has taken a dreadful toll on people's mental health. It has caused immense disruption to our lives."

The power company applied to the local authority late in 2019 for consent to install the 149.8 metre high turbines some 1,645 metres south of 43 Farlary.

Highland Council refused permission on visual grounds and the developer submitted an appeal to the Scottish Government's Planning and Environmental Appeals Division.

That appeal was rejected in February this year with government reporter Andrew Fleming stating the wind farm would have "significant landscape and visual impacts, including cumulative impacts, which it is not possible to mitigate."

However, South Kilbraur Wind Farm Ltd refused to accept his judgement and took the case to the Court of Session, who quashed the government's decision and returned the case to the appeals division for a second look.

Another government reporter, Mike Shiel, has now agreed with his colleague that the development would be to the "significant detriment of the visual amenity and rural setting that local residents currently enjoy".

South Kilbraur Wind Farm Ltd has six weeks in which to appeal his verdict.

Mr O'Reilly said that the planning process was "skewed in favour of developers and against communities".

He said: "Local people have no right of appeal against a planning decision where a developer can make as many appeals as they can afford.

"This developer seems to have very deep pockets and we had nothing, just the certainty that this development was wrong for Rogart."

Mr O'Reilly thanked everyone who had taken part in the K2 campaign and also Highland Council for its "excellent and professional handling of the case".

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