On Thursday 18th August, Members of the Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee voted against their Officer’s recommendation to support an application to extend the existing Corriegarth Wind Farm by 14 turbines.
The Council’s planning officers had recommended that the Council raise ‘no objection’ to the application. This was in line with responses from other key consultees such as the Cairngorms National Park Authority, NatureScot, SEPA and Historic Environment Scotland who have not objected to the proposals. Despite this, Councillors resolved to object based on localised visual impacts.
As the project has an installed capacity of greater than 50MW, the final decision rests with the Scottish Ministers and, due to the Council’s objection, this will now be determined through the public inquiry process. The proposal is an extension to the existing Corriegarth Wind Farm and, if consented, will be able to generate 67.5MW of renewable energy. Extensions such as this make use of existing infrastructure, such as tracks and power lines, thereby minimising environmental effects. The turbines at Corriegarth are sited well away from houses, with the next residential property being situated over 3km away from the nearest turbine.
Jillian Adams, BayWa r.e.’s Project Manager, said: “With a declared climate emergency in both Scotland and the Highlands, and emerging national policy recommending wind farm extensions to be supported, we are disappointed with the decision today. Given the on-going cost of living crisis, energy supply security and climate change, local, renewable energy projects such as Corriegarth 2 Wind Farm provide an excellent opportunity for Scotland and the UK to secure a long term energy supply which will ultimately lead to a reduction in consumers’ electricity costs. With a grid connection date of 2025, Corriegarth 2 Wind Farm could quickly make a meaningful contribution both to domestic electricity generation and net zero targets.
We have worked collaboratively with the Council’s planning and landscape officers to achieve a layout that fits the landscape and respects the design of the operational Corriegarth Wind Farm. This was recognised by officers in their recommendation to the committee. We would like to thank the local communities and consultees for their input and time into the project to date.”
The development, if consented and constructed, will produce renewable, clean energy and result in over £10 million investment in the Highland region. As a member of the Inverness Chamber of Commerce BayWa r.e. is committed to maximising the local supply chain and to a local community benefit fund.
BayWa r.e. UK Limited is a leading international renewable energy project developer, with offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow. BayWa r.e. has a team of 200 staff based throughout Scotland and the UK, and has installed over 500MW of renewable energy projects in the UK and Ireland, with a further 2.5GW in development.
The company is committed to working with local contractors where possible and has recently joined the Inverness Chamber of Commerce. BayWa r.e. is building a register of local businesses to use during construction and, if consented, the company will organise Meet the Buyer events with local contractors to outline the opportunities connected to the development.