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Inquiry date into major wind farm in Badenoch wilds is set

By Gavin Musgrove

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A Public Local Inquiry into a major wind farm in the wilds of Badenoch is due to be held towards the end of this year.

Highland Council raised an objection to SIMEC's proposed development at Glenshero in the Monadhliath hills in October, last year.

The inquiry has been set for November, it is revealed in an update on major projects to the local authority's South Planning Applications committee ahead of its meeting on Tuesday.

The report states: "The DPEA (Planning and Environmental Appeals Division) have passed the case and a pre-examination meeting was held virtually on May 14, 2020. The Public Local Inquiry will be held in November 2020."

If Glenshero wind farm is approved it would create one of the most expansive renewable energy developments in the UK.

The proposed development – eight kilometres west of Laggan – consists of 39 turbines with a tip height of 135 metres.

Those opposing the scheme by SIMEC fear that the cumulative impact will be far greater in the landscape as the site is right next to the Stronelairg wind farm on the Garrogie Estate comprising 66 turbines.

The council stated in its objection the proposed wind farm would destroy the “emptiness” and “strong sense of remoteness and sanctuary” of the rugged beauty spot.

The authority said the wind farm would be contrary to its Highland wide Local Development Plan and several national policies as “the development would have a significantly detrimental visual impact particularly” for outdoor users at many points.

The final decision on the application will be made by Scottish Ministers.

Cairngorm National Park Authority planning committee members unanimously agreed to object to plans for Glenshero wind farm in May, last year.

SIMEC has said it has carried out a long and exhaustive consultation process and the renewable scheme will not impact on the integrity of the national park.

The firm said the development could trigger £158m of capital investment, much of it in the Highlands. Proposed Cloiche wind farm, also nearby, is still in its early planning stage.

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