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A Kintyre wind farm which was refused permission by Argyll and Bute Council in September 2017 has been approved by Scottish Ministers after a public inquiry.
Consent for the Clachaig Glen wind farm is for up to 14 wind turbine generators at a maximum tip height of 126.5m, capable of producing around 47.6MW of electricity.
Project manager John Barnes, of RWE Renewables, the company behind the project, said: ‘We have worked for several years to design this project, during which time we have taken on board considerations from many stakeholders as well as feedback received from the local community.
‘We look forward to working closely with the council and local residents going forward.’
Clachaig Glen is within the Scottish National Forest Estate and is close to the Deucheran Hill wind farm site.
Asked if the project was likely to create new jobs or support local firms, an RWE spokesperson told the Courier this week: ‘Whilst receiving the planning permission is a crucial step towards construction of the wind farm, we are still some way off appointing critical contracts.
‘We will be working with the council on establishing links with local suppliers for when we can start building this project – we are hopeful that this could begin late 2021 with completion by July 2024.
‘We will always look to hold a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event in the local area to encourage local suppliers to engage with us prior to the award of contracts. Further information on this will be shared closer to the time, likely late 2020/early 2021.’
The council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee was asked to note the Scottish Government’s decision at its meeting on Wednesday but, as the report is for noting, no debate was to take place.
Fergus Murray, the council’s head of development and economic growth, gave details of the Scottish Government reporters’ conclusions on the matter.
The reporters said: ‘Clachaig Glen wind farm would contribute to Scottish Government targets for increasing generation of electricity from renewables and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
‘The reporters conclude that the proposal should be considered acceptable in terms of its landscape and visual impact, including cumulative impacts.
‘Subject to the use of their recommended planning conditions, they do not find any other unacceptable environmental impacts.
‘They consider that the proposal accords overall with the relevant provisions of the development plan and would benefit from the Scottish Planning Policy presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development.
‘There are no other material considerations which the reporters consider would justify the refusal of planning permission.’
The ministers’ decision was then reported as: ‘Scottish Ministers have carefully considered the evidence presented at the public local inquiry and the reporters’ overall conclusions and recommendations.
‘They accept the reporters’ conclusions and recommendations and adopt them for the purpose of their own decision.’
However, the council’s decision to block a consultation on a second proposed wind farm, at Killean, near Tayinloan, was upheld by the ministers. This was also a decision originally taken in 2017.
The reporter is quoted as saying: ‘The scale of the harmful visual effects on the proposed development would outweigh the benefits of the project.
‘Notwithstanding national energy policy support, both the Scottish Planning Policy and Policy LDP 6 of the local development plan require ministers to give consideration to visual impacts.
‘It is considered that the proposal is contrary to local development plan policy LDP 6.
‘The proposal does not benefit from the Scottish Planning Policy presumption in favour of sustainable development because of the substantial adverse visual impacts, both individually and cumulatively.’
An artist’s impression of how the Clachaig Glen site may look. NO_c03clachaigglen01