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Council rejects plans for Scotland's tallest windfarm

Proposals to build 23 turbines, each 150m high, have been thrown out after protests by locals.

Turbines: Company said farm would create 55 jobs.
© STV

Plans for a 23-turbine windfarm near Inverness have been turned down by Highland Council.

The proposed development would have seen the construction of Scotland's tallest wind turbines, each measuring 149m with a blade-span of 100m.

But Highland Council turned down the application following a visit to the site on Blairmore Estate, near Kiltarlity and Abriachan.

During the visit, campaigners opposed to the development flew a large red blimp at the site to illustrate the visual impact on the area.

Despite 428 representations being made in favour of the farm, as opposed to 330 against, the Council's planning committee made the decision to reject the plans on Tuesday.

One of the objections came from Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Terry Butcher.

The ex-Rangers and England defender, who now lives in Abriachan, said the development would have created "a monstrous eyesore within one kilometre of the loveliest walks in Scotland".

He added: "A great deal of hard work has been undertaken by the Abriachan Forest Trust to create a wonderful sporting and educational environment adjacent to the Great Glen Way, which would then contract dramatically with 23 of the biggest wind turbines in Britain."

Renewable energy firm Druim Ba said the windfarm would create up to 55 jobs and £7.7m of community benefits at a time of public-sector cuts and rising unemployment.

But objectors included four community councils - Kiltarlity, Inverness West, Glenurquhart and Kilmorack.

Lyndsey Ward, who lives at nearby Beauly, said: "This was a really inappropriate development for this area. It is a really vibrant community. This would have devastated and dominated the area."

She said the exercise with the blimp had been carried out in April, adding: "People were horrified - they couldn't believe how far away you could see it.

"It could be seen from Dores, the Black Isle and Beauly Braes. That was just a blimp on a cable. You have to imagine what it would be like with a blade with a 100-metre span on a tower."

A spokeswoman for Druim Ba said there had been no objections from other statutory bodies including Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

She added: "Furthermore, no objections were raised from other important statutory consultees, including VisitScotland, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, Historic Scotland and RSPB.

"At a time of public sector cuts and growing unemployment, particularly among young people, the rejection of the project is a serious loss for people and businesses in the Highland region."

It is understood the company is now considering an appeal to the Scottish Government.

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