In lovely Loch Awe, high on a hillside behind Portsonachan, overlooking Scotland’s best and most glorious scenery, Ecotricity Ltd presented for planning approval an 18 wind turbine scheme to cover a low horizon hillside, right in the view from every key viewpoint along the tourist route which graces the edge of the Loch. The developer worked hard to say that a massive windfarm in such an iconic, breathtaking, staggeringly beautiful location would be fine, introducing professional witnesses of great skill and experience. The Council and locals all disagreed.
A Public Inquiry in Dalmally in 2017 was courteous and entirely comprehensive (even involving the Reporter going on his own in a canoe on the loch, and a climb up Ben Cruachan!). The suspense waiting for the decision has been difficult for everyone. Inquiry Reporters’ reports are hidden from view until the Ministers’ decision, which has taken a very long time. In the meantime, the developer is lying out of his money, and on the other side, local plans and projects for enhancing the tourist offer in the area have had to be put on hold. The result, however, is very gratifying, and shows how right the clients and the Council were all along. The Scheme should never have (sorry!) got off the ground.
The well formed and articulated views of local people, led locally, and represented by Hastie Stable’s John Campbell QC, have prevailed, endorsing the opinions of the local Planning Authority and many tourism operators. The application for permission has been soundly rejected. Another victory for common sense.
The decision may be found at http://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/CaseDetails.aspx?id=117967&T=0