Controversial windfarm plan wins approval after appeal

Golden Plover have intervened at Tom nan Clach windfarm.
Golden Plover have intervened at Tom nan Clach windfarm.

Alterations to a controversial windfarm on the edge of a Highland beauty spot have been approved by the Scottish Government.

The Tom nan Clach development will now have four fewer turbines – which will stand higher than the originally proposed.

The windfarm will now be made up of 13 turbines instead of the originally consented 17 – but developer Infinergy believes that the larger turbines will increase energy energy output by 26% based on the original plans.

The development will be built on Cawdor Estate four miles to the east of Tomatin.

Local residents had raised concerns about the visual impact on the wild landscape of Dava Moor between Nairn and Grantown.

Highland Council also objected to the plans citing visual and cumulative impact.

But the plans have now been approved by Scottish Government reporter Stephen Hall after it was appealed by Infinergy.

The company says that turbine technology has improved since 2013 when the windfarm was originally consented.

Esbjorn Wilmar, managing director of Infinergy said: “We are delighted with this decision.

“The redesign will increase the renewable electricity generated on the site by approximately 26%, using fewer turbines and their associated infrastructure.

“We started construction of the wind farm’s access tracks this summer and we are thrilled that it will be the better project that gets to be built on this fantastic site for wind energy.”

Work started on the project last month with upgrading work beginning on the B9007 Ferness to Carrbridge road as a precursor to work begining to install the turbines.

The road is to be widened at various sections with a number of new passing places created to allow access for large vehicles and components accessing the windfarm site.

The government’s decision was welcomed by the north’s business community last night.

Fraser Grieve, regional director at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry said: “The SCDI welcomes investment in projects in Highland.

“Such investment brings benefits in the form of employment and opportunities for local sub-contractors and others providing goods and services.

“This decision is hugely positive not just for this development but for the wider economy and drive to harness the renewable potential we have here.”

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