Rural windfarm approved by Moray Council

Meikle Hill visualistaion

A new windfarm will be erected outside a Moray village – after developers reduced its size by almost half in the face of opposition from locals.

Councillors have approved plans for six turbines at a site at Meikle Hill, south east of Dallas – down from the 10 originally proposed by Edinburgh-based firm Brookfield Renewable UK Ltd last December.

Members of Moray Council’s planning and regulatory services committee heard the firm had managed to quell public resistance to the scheme.

Highlands and Islands Airport at Inverness and the Ministry of Defence also withdrew objections to the plan after it was altered.

It is estimated the farm will generate more than £1.7 million of community benefit throughout its 25-year lifetime.

Speyside and Glenlivet councillor Mike McConnachie said: “The developer has worked really hard to alleviate the objections to the scheme.

“There were 17 objections to the scheme when it was first raised and they have all been removed now the amount of turbines has been reduced.”

Committee chairman Chris Tuke added: “The developer has also taken account of visual impact problems by moving the farm back further into the interior of the land.”

Project Manager at Brookfield Renewable UK, Jamie Druitt, said the councillors’ support was “greatly encouraging”.

He added: “The positive outcome demonstrates that councillors have accepted the merits of our proposals and the work we have undertaken, with both the council and the community, to ensure that Meikle Hill Wind Farm is the best fit for the local area.

“We would like to thank local residents for their continued support and engagement with the Meikle Hill project, and we look forward to further developing our relationship throughout the construction and operational phases.”

The revised scheme attracted 65 letters of public support and 21 in opposition.

Last month the Meikle Hill development figured on a list of 46 windfarms criticised by the John Muir Trust wild land charity because of its proximity to the Cairngorms National Park.

The charity’s John Low said: “This endless march of windfarms encircling the iconic wild land of the national park is a real challenge for the government.”