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Good news for Glen Urquhart

Monday 24th July 2017, 1:04pm

Good news came at the weekend that wind farm developers have called time on efforts to erect 13 wind turbines, each over 400 ft tall, above Glen Urquhart, near Loch Ness.

The developers, Force9 Energy and French firm EDF Energy Renewables, announced that they would not be challenging the decision after a public inquiry that the development should not go ahead.

The application for the Cnoc an Eas wind farm had been rejected by Highland Council and was opposed by organisations including Mountaineering Scotland and the John  Muir Trust, as well as the local community group STAG (Stop Turbines at Glenurquhart).

Mountaineering Scotland objected on the grounds that the 13 wind turbines of up to 136.5m blade-tip height, at base elevations of around 310-400m, in forest and moorland north of Glen Urqhuart were not needed to meet climate change targets, were of an unsuitable size and scale for the site, raised issues of cumulative impact, and would have been detrimental to the image of the area being successfully marketed as a tourist destination. The proposed wind farm would have been in the hills north of Loch Meiklie.

The developers appealed Highland Council’s rejection of the application and the case went to a public inquiry, with the reporter announcing at the start of June that the appeal had been rejected. Final confirmation came last week that the developers would not be taking the case further to the Court of Session.

STAG welcomed the news, saying: “If this wind farm had been approved it would have been very close to homes and would have had a disastrous impact on the character of Glen Urquhart. We hope that this decision will send a message to other wind farm developers that Glen Urquhart and the surrounding area is not a suitable location for their schemes.”

David Gibson, CEO of Mountaineering Scotland, also welcomed the news that there would be no further appeal, saying: “Special thanks are due to Dave Gordon, our current (joint) volunteer of the year for his outstanding work in preparing our objection and presenting our case at the appeal. It was a victory also for local campaign group STAG with whom we were pleased to collaborate.”