Highland councillors have offered their support to plans for an 85-turbine offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth.

Moray Offshore Windfarm (West) Ltd has proposed the scheme for a site about 14 miles (23km) off the Caithness coast.

Highland Council planning officers had recommended that the local authority raise an objection because some of the turbines would spoil a panoramic view.

However, councillors agreed that the view across the firth from Caithness was often “obscured by the weather”.

Highland Council’s north planning committee was asked by the Scottish government to comment on the project.

Detrimental impact

Planning officers warned that some of the turbines would have a “significantly detrimental impact” on open panoramic sea views.

They suggested limiting the westward extent of the wind farm.

But committee chairwoman, Maxine Smith, said the project would bring economic benefits including an estimated 143 jobs in Invergordon.

She said: “After listening to the local members and all of the debate it was thought that the view out to sea is often obscured by the weather conditions anyway.

“The detrimental impact did not outweigh the economic benefit that will come to the area.”

Moray West has been proposed for a site adjacent to the planned, and consented, Moray East offshore wind farm.

A third scheme in the firth, Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (Bowl), is under construction. More than 20 of its 84 turbines have been installed.

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