Published: 02/04/2015 07:00 - Updated: 01/04/2015 16:44

Highland Council grants windfarm extension near Loch Ness

Written byLaurence Ford

More turbines have been approved for Beinneun Wind Farm.
More turbines have been approved for Beinneun Wind Farm.

THE Beinneun Wind Farm has been granted planning permission to extend its site nine miles west of Loch Ness to include an additional seven turbines up to 136 metres tall.

The plan drew objections from Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Council and the John Muir Trust, both of which are concerned about the cumulative impact.

However, no environment, water or historical agencies are opposed to the plans.

The approval by Highland Council’s south area planning applications committee came just weeks after a new local pressure group was set up to fight more turbines being install around Loch Ness amid fears the world famous scenic tourist sttraction could be blighted by more than 500 turbines.

But members iof the Highland planning committee is to object another application for a 10-turbine extension at the Millennium South wind farm at Glenmoriston which will be determined bythe Sottish Government.

The Beinneun Wind Farm was unanimously approved by members of the south area planning applications committee at their meeting in Inverness.

Margaret Davidson, councillor for Aird and Loch Ness, said it was a well-designed extension, which would sit well on the landscape.

Inverness South councillor Richard Laird said: "There is a significant number of turbines there already but is the addition of another seven going to make a difference? I do not think so."

But the Millennium South wind farm extension plan at Glenmoriston ran into opposition.

Falck Renewables Wind wants to build another 10 turbines at its site and Scottish Government has the final say, but the council is a statutory consultee and councillors rejected the scheme describing a panoramic view of the windfarms already built in the same area as "eye-opening".

The Millennium South proposals drew objections from the Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Council and John Muir Trust over the cumulative impact, while the Mountaineering Council for Scotland and the Scottish Rights of Way Society have also objected.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency objected over the potential flood risk caused by the access track, arguing that conditions be attached to any permission granted to modify it and also install buffers to prevent water run-off.

The proposal is the third extension for the 28-turbine Millennium wind farm and would bring the total number of wind turbines by a range of developers in the area to around 240 structures.

Cllr Davidson said it was "frightening" to look at the panoramic view and see how many turbines were in the area.

Councillor Donnie Kerr, Inverness Central, said the panoramic view was "eye-opening".

The Highland News last month told how a campaign has been launched to save the Loch Ness area from being overlooked by more than 500 wind turbines.

A new pressure group points out that 527 turbines have now been built, approved or are in the planning process within a 22-mile radius of Loch Ness.

Save Loch Ness went online two weeks ago with a petition to the Scottish Government to have a National Scenic Area designated to halt the construction of more turbines.

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