Highlands & Islands

Caithness wind farm opposed by Highland councillors

Wind turbines in far north
Image caption Other wind farms are within a 21-mile radius of the proposed site

Plans to construct a 30-turbine wind farm in Caithness have been opposed by a group of councillors.

Officers at Highland Council had recommended that no objections be raised against the project earmarked for Spittal Hill.

But members of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross planning committee have concerns about the scheme.

It will now go to a public inquiry before the Scottish government is asked to make a decision on the application.

Changes would have to be made to aircraft approach procedures at Wick Airport if it was approved.

Highlands and Islands Airports (HIA) said it would need six months to make the alterations before any turbine construction at the site.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has also warned of the farm's impact on the landscape - which includes the Flow Country.

Since the application was made, the government agency has sought support for an idea to try to gain Unesco World Heritage status for the peatland.

The Scottish government has received 1,325 letters of objection to the project and 1,259 in support.

Objections included concerns about noise levels, while those in favour highlighted the benefits of renewable energy.

Nineteen other wind projects lie within a 21-mile (35km) radius of the proposed site.

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