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Controversial £625 million Red John hydro scheme on banks of Loch Ness to go before public inquiry

The proposed £625 million development will be situated close to Dores on the banks of Loch Ness
The proposed £625 million development will be situated close to Dores on the banks of Loch Ness

A controversial hydro-scheme on the banks of Loch Ness will go before a public inquiry, its developers have said, after it was rejected for a second time by Highland Councillors in December.

ILI Group of Hamilton, the proposed developer of the Red John scheme near Dores, announced its intention yesterday, after councillors opted to go against the advice of its officials to reject the £625 million development.

The developer argues the project is of “local and national benefit in the midst of a climate emergency”.

Mark Wilson, chief executive of ILI Group, said: “Unfortunately the planning committee have raised an objection for the second time.

“This was against the advice not only of the council planning department but also the roads department, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Historic and Environmental Scotland, who all raised no objection to our proposal.

“This now means we will take the proposal to a public local inquiry and we have informed the energy consents unit accordingly.

“Storage is critical to the further development of renewable energy in Scotland. Wind and solar are intermittent but can provide constant power when backed up by storage.”

Pumped storage hydro allows the grid to store energy that cannot be absorbed naturally by consumers during times of peak wind or solar generation.

Mr Wilson argues it will play a “critical role” to renewable energy in Scotland.

He added: “Locally this project will create nearly 400 construction jobs over the five-year construction period.

“We are confident the public local inquiry will see the local and national benefits of the project and we look forward to presenting these.”

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