By Jane Candlish

Plans for a new windfarm in Caithness have been rejected on appeal by
Scottish ministers.

It is the second time that a windfarm in the Spittal Hill area has been
turned down.

The devices would have been 328ft high on land to the east of Spittal Hill.

The scheme also required more than 1.2miles of new access tracks and
upgrades to more than 2.5miles of existing tracks.

Highland Council planners used their delegated powers to refuse the project
in September last year.

More than 1,700 people wrote to the local authority concerning the
application. Around 1,150 opposed the development, while 580 were in support.

But the developers, Spittal Hill Windfarm Ltd, lodged an appeal to the
Scottish Government.

Now reporter Timothy Bain has turned down the proposals because of the
landscape and visual impact and the impact on residents.

He said that the windfarm would have a “substantial detrimental visual
impact” particularly from viewpoints up to 2.5miles away.

While there were concerns about the impact on the Dunnet Head Special
Landscape Area, Mr Bain said while the turbines would be visible, they
would not have a significant effect.

But he did raise concerns that the turbines would “serve to diminish and
detract” from Spittal Hill itself. He said the devices would appear “out of
scale” with the hill.

He added: “Overall, while I accept that no individual residential
properties would be overwhlemed or dominated by the turbines, I find that a
substantial number would experience significant detrimental visual impact
which would make them less pleasant places to live.”

Mr Bain also said that there would be a significant effect on Spittal itself.

Spittal Hill Windfarm Ltd made no comment yesterday.

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