Anti-wind farm campaigners across Scotland are celebrating Fergus Ewing’s decision to refuse the Druim Ba windfarm near Loch Ness.
Following a long, expensive and hard-fought campaign, they are delighted that Fergus Ewing has finally agreed with the Public Inquiry Reporter, with Highland Council and with hundreds of objectors that the 23 turbine development was unacceptable.
“It is a clear warning to predatory wind developers who assume the Scottish Government will let them get away with projects regardless of the harm they do to local communities“, said SAS Chair Graham Lang.
“Passing this – which would have become the tallest wind farm in Scotland with turbines standing 490 feet tall in an iconic tourist area near Loch Ness – would have set a terrifying precedent.
The applicants made much of the thousands of homes the windfarm was supposed to supply with electricity, the thousand jobs they claimed it would create and the £8 million community benefit the project could produce during its lifetime.
Yet these alleged benefits did not cancel out the clear negative impacts of the windfarm on landscape, visual and residential amenity. It is significant that the Scottish Government endorsed the Reporter’s findings on noise.”
The applicant had argued that a day time noise limit of 40dB(A) should be adopted because of the very quiet background noise levels, but the Reporter rejected this in favour of a lower limit of 35dB(A) would be most appropriate, which meant over 40 properties would experience noise levels above this. The Reporter concluded:
It is unlikely that the wind farm could operate and meet the 35dB(A) limit without having to turn individual turbines off and it is undesirable to construct a wind farm and then have turbines not operate. The difficulty the proposal has in meeting acceptable noise limits is a function of the design choices made regarding the height and number of turbines. The likely noise from the wind farm would contribute to the detrimental effects on the amenity of several nearby properties.
Graham Lang added: “The proximity of turbines to people across Scotland is leading to increasing numbers of complaints on noise. The only protection is distance and this decision makes that clear“.