Published: 04/07/2018 19:00 - Updated: 03/07/2018 11:12

'David beat Goliath' over Druim Ba wind farm

Written byDonna MacAllister

 

windfarm
French company Boralex has said it is disappointed at the Scottish Government decision.

Plans for 10 turbines at Druim Ba between Kiltarlity and Abriachan have been rejected after a second public inquiry.

A Scottish Government reporter dismissed the appeal and refused planning permission for the scheme on Blairmore Estate.

There were fears the scheme would ruin the views and spoil people’s enjoyment of area, which welcomes tens of thousands of visitors every year.

Hilda Hesling, a member of Inverness West Community Council which objected to the plans, said the result was down to a "wonderful community campaign".

"It was a David and Goliath struggle," she said.

Boralex, the French company behind the scheme, said it "regrets this decision" but looked forward to developing other on-going projects in Scotland.

Boralex massively scaled-back the scheme after it was turned down in an earlier bid.

DBSE previously submitted an application for 23 turbines but this was rejected by Highland Council and the Scottish Government in 2012.

A government reporter announced the latest decision on Thursday.

He considered the development would have "significant cumulative effects" on the Great Glen Way, and would be "a dominant feature" at Ardendrain, as well as prominent from the A833 Kiltarlity to Drumnadrochit road.

His list of reasons against the scheme included his assessment that views from Kiltarlity, Abriachan, Beauly Railway Station, Braes of Kilmorack and from the summit of Meall Fuar-mhonaidh would be significantly or mildly affected.

He said the turbines would be "sometimes audible" and a "dominant element of the experience" from the forest road to Achpopuli – and there would be significant cumulative effect on the landscape where other windfarms are visible.

Hilda Hesling, a member of Inverness West Community Council, said: "The whole campaign was a wonderful community effort, with many people contributing, not because any of us are against renewables, but because it was a dreadful place for such a development. It was a David and Goliath struggle. That is the real story."

Wind farm campaigner Lyndsey Ward said: "The community has had seven years of wind farm developers trying to get a wind farm in that area. Let that be an end to it and give the community some peace."

Julie Cusson, the company’s director of public affairs and communications, said: "While Druim Ba Sustainable Energy regrets this decision, the company looks forward to Boralex continuing to develop several other on-going projects in Scotland. At this time, there are no plans for an appeal."

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