The Scot-Govt has rejected a bid by Muirhall Energy for planning permission
to build a 68-MW wind farm project in the Highlands.
The £80 million Caplich project was turned down because the proposed
20-turbine wind farm near Lairg in Sutherland would have an ‘adverse effect
on the surrounding landscape and impact visual amenity’.
While it was expected to make “a meaningful contribution” towards meeting
Scotland’s renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions targets, it did
fully not comply with all requirements under the Scot-Govt national
planning policy, which operates a presumption in favour of new wind-powered
turbine parcs development.
Muirhall Energy wanted to erect 20 x 3.4-MW turbines with a blade tip
height of 433 ft, capable of producing enough electricity for some 40,000
homes per year.
Consequently, there was ‘rejoicing in the green Glens’ last night after the
Scot-Govt rejected the Muirhall Energy plan.
This thumbs-down was warmly welcomed by the John Muir Trust.
The Public Local Inquiry into an application by Muirhall Energy for a
20-turbine development at Caplich in Sutherland, found that the proposed
wind farm would cause “significant harm to Wild Land Areas 34
[Reay-Cassley] and 29 [Rhiddoroch-Beinn Dearg-Ben Wyvis] and would
compromise the natural environment, amenity and heritage resources of these
In addition, a separate public local inquiry into an application from RES
for a 13-turbine wind farm at Culachy near Fort Augustus concluded that it
would “compromise the Braeroy-Creag Meagaidh-Glenshirra Wild Land Area and
would not be “the right development in the right place”.
In one letter Scottish Energy Minister stated that these areas “are of
recognised national importance”.
Andrew Bachell, Chief Executive of the John Muir Trust said: “We are
delighted at these decisions and pleased that the Scottish Government is
sending out a strong message that our wild and scenic places are of
“Since the Wild Land Areas map was approved in 2014, ten wind farms with a
total of nearly 200 turbines have been refused because of their impact on
these landscapes and ecosystems.
”We would hope that these latest decisions will help persuade developers to
focus their efforts on less sensitive areas.
“We believe that there are better ways to secure a sustainable economic
future than to compromise the landscapes for which the northern Highlands
are known around the world.”