The Reporter dismissed the appeal against the windfarm proposals on Ben Wyvis. Photo: Nick Bramhall CC-BY-SA-2.0

The Reporter dismissed the appeal against the plans for a windfarm close to Ben Wyvis. Photo: Nick Bramhall CC-BY-SA-2.0

Mountaineers have welcomed a decision to reject an appeal against the refusal to allow a windfarm on the slopes of a prominent Highland mountain.

The Mountaineering Council urged planners to reject another application when it meets this week.

PI Renewables sought to overturn Highland Council’s refusal of its plans for 14 turbines about 400m to 450m on the south flank of Little Wyvis, which would have been just 5km from Ben Wyvis itself.

The Reporter at a public inquiry rejected the company’s appeal.

He found the development would have had significant visual impacts on the Ben Wyvis massif and in particular from An Cabar, part of the most popular route up Ben Wyvis.

The Reporter, appointed by Scottish Government ministers, also found that the development would have a number of significant individual effects and contribute to cumulative impacts on a wild land area.

MCofS chief executive said: “We welcomed the original decision by Highland Council’s North Planning Committee to refuse permission and are clearly pleased that the Reporter has dismissed the appeal.

“We hope that this decision sends a further strong message to those who seek to develop the area around Ben Wyvis in particular, and Scotland’s fantastic resource of wild land further afield.”

“Scotland’s wild land is continually and rapidly diminishing in the face of windfarm developments. Because of this we call on Highland Council’s South Planning Committee to refuse permission for the Culachy Wind Farm when it meets tomorrow.

“That development would see 13 massive turbines, up to 490ft tall, set within the already reduced Creag Meagaidh wild land area and close to two national scenic areas and several special landscape areas.”

Conservation charity the John Muir Trust, which opposed the development, also welcomed the ruling. Policy officer John Low said: “Today’s decision emphasises the strong protection for wild land promised by the Scottish Government last year.

“We are especially heartened that in his 20-page ruling, the Scottish Government Reporter highlighted the detrimental impact on wild land area 29 of the proposed scheme.

“In support of his decision, he also cited the latest Scottish planning policy, which points out that many of our more remote upland, mountain and coastal areas have little or no capacity to accept new development.

“Coming on top of a series of recent rulings to protect wild land at Glen Affric, Caithness, Highland Perthshire and the Monadhliath Mountains this latest decision suggests that the wild land areas map seems to have introduced consistency into the decision-making process.

“We now hope that energy companies will get the message that future applications for large-scale wind farms impacting on wild land areas are likely to fail.”

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