Calls have been made to prioritise climate change concerns in Moray in future planning decisions.
The council approved Tamdhu Distillery’s plans to build four new whisky storage warehouses on former forestry land that had already been levelled before the proposals were submitted.
Opposition Conservative councillor Claire Feaver tried to block the development – arguing it could set a precedent for other firms to “destroy” woodland to make construction projects more likely to be approved.
However, council officers stressed planning permission was not required to fell trees and recommended the warehouse plans for approval.
Developer Ian MacLeod distillers has offered up £9,000 towards equivalent tree planting elsewhere.
Other councillors in the chambers meanwhile stressed that climate change concerns could not halt on all developments in Moray.
Mrs Feaver said: “There have been decisions taken by the council within the last six months that have shown a total disregard to the climate change emergency.
“There was the decision to give planning permission while allowing woodland to be destroyed.
“I’m not against development in Moray, we need it for our economy – but it has to be in the right place.”
Mrs Feaver also cited environmental concerns about plans to build 38 new homes near the Findhorn Foundation, which were approved in August as they complied with council policy.
Gary Templeton, Moray Council’s strategic planning and development manager, said national planning rules were currently being drawn up covering issues including food production, woodland and renewable energy.
He added: “The interpretation of this is something we are going to have to get to grips with.”
Concerns were also raised about the site near Knockando being cleared of trees ahead of planning permission being submitted by Forres councillor George Alexander.
SNP Speyside Glenlivet councillor Louise Laing stressed several factors must be taken into account when considering plans.
She said: “There’s a climate change emergency but we have to be sensible about it. This distillery was closed, then it opened again and now it’s growing.
“This is a good thing for the Moray economy, we can’t stop everything due to climate change, we have to be sensible.”