A community windfarm proposed for North Uist has been refused planning permission from the Scottish Government.
North Uist Development Company (NUDC) had planned to erect two 900kw turbines at Locheport. When the project was first launched, it was estimated that the turbines could generate £179,000 in revenue annually for the first 15 years of operation, rising to £450,000 in years 15 – 20.
However, like several others from Uist, the development was subject to an objection from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
It argues that wind turbines can have detrimental effects on the operation of radar, including the desensitisation of radar, the creation of false aircraft returns, and obscuration of real aircraft targets.
In November last year, citing a lack of understanding about MoD concerns, councillors effectively ignored its objections and granted planning permission for the NUDC project and others from South Uist and Benbecula.
Subsequently, the cases were passed to the Scottish Government. It commissioned a reporter to consider the matter and make recommendations to ministers. A hearing, chaired by the reporter, was held in Balivanich in June.
Today, the verdict of the reporter – and consequently the Scottish Government – was made known.
A letter sent to NUDC states: “Scottish Ministers have carefully considered the reporter’s report of the hearing. They agree with the reporter’s conclusions and adopt them for the purposes of their own decision and accept the reporter’s recommendation.
“Accordingly, Scottish Ministers hereby refuse planning permission for the erection of 2 wind turbines at Locheport, North Uist.
“The foregoing decision of Scottish Ministers is final, subject to the right conferred by Sections 237 and 239 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 of any person aggrieved by the decision to apply to the Court of Session within 6 weeks of the date hereof. On any such application the Court may quash the decision if satisfied that it is not within the powers of the Act, or that the appellant’s interests have been substantially prejudiced by a failure to comply with any requirements of the Act, or of the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1992, or any orders, regulations or rules made under these Acts.
“A copy of this letter and the report has been sent to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Ministry of Defence. All parties who made representations will be notified of the decision.”
More on this story to follow…