CAMPAIGNERS WHO THOUGHT they had won the battle over plans to place some of the largest wind turbines in Scotland at a Moray landmark site have now learned the case is to go to the Scottish Government.
The Brown Muir proposal was thrown out by Moray councillors amid some controversy last year when the plans for the site were rejected by councillors who feared the giant 420foot structures would dominate the landscape.
Developers Vento Ludens had first planned to place 19 turbines in the site – but withdrew that in the face of fierce opposition in 2013. They returned with a revised bid for 12 turbines in September – but that was again dismissed on the casting vote of planning committee chairman Chris Tuke after an acrimonious debate.
SNP councillors pressed for the wind turbines to be accepted despite it having attracted 1300 objections from the general public, prompting accusations that local councillors were putting their national party policies ahead of local needs.
Now it has been revealed that Vento Ludens have taken their case to the Scottish Government, asking ministers to overturn the council ruling and allow the building of the wind turbines.
Last night local SNP councillor Pearl Paul, who had recommended acceptance of the planning application in September, insisted that many people remained firmly in favour of the plans and the economic benefits they would generate.
“I’m prepared to accept whatever decision the government may take,” the for local SNP leader said, adding: “There are quite a lot of folk in this area who are happy with the idea.”
Revealing that they would appeal, Vento Ludens development director Mike Kelly said: “We firmly believe that we had addressed the issues raised, and were disappointed by the officer’s recommendation to refuse the windfarm.
“We were heartened that the vote at the planning committee was so close, in the circumstances we feel it is appropriate to appeal against the decision.”
The Scottish Government last month demonstrated its determination to back windfarm applicants defeated in council chambers when it said it would go to the Court of Session to appeal a decision to overturn an earlier plan over a windfarm in Fort Augustus.
That followed a court decision that in overturning the planning decision the Government had not taken account of objections by Scottish Natural Heritage.