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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Setback for test wind farm plan
Wind turbine
More than 1,000 objections have been lodged with the council
The company planning a huge wind farm in Morvern and Ardnamurchan has been dealt a blow.

Councillors in Lochaber have thrown out four out of five bids by Wind Energy Ltd to erect masts to assess the potential for a future development.

Objectors argued that the test masts would lead to the construction of Europe's largest wind farm.

Wind Energy Ltd said it was disappointed because the decision was against the planning recommendation.

Managing director, Mike Davies, said: "We are clearly disappointed, because the decision was against the recommendation of the planning officer."

He added that the firm was waiting to receive the written response from Highland Council before deciding what action to take.

However, he said Wind Energy was still keen to "take the plan forward".

The Edinburgh-based company had submitted proposals to set up five anemometers, which test wind capacity, at locations in Lochaber, before going ahead with the construction of turbines.

There was some concern that the areas of great landscape would be affected by setting up these masts
Drew McFarlane-Slack
planning committee
But at Highland Council's Lochaber planning area committee meeting in Fort William on Monday, only one application for an anemometer to be set up at the Glen Sanda quarry, in Morvern, was accepted by the local authority.

Campaigners from Fairwind, a group opposing the development, has welcomed the decision, calling it a "victory for common sense".

The local authority had already received about 1,000 objections to wind turbines developments, planned for Mull, Adnamurchan and Morvern.

And applications for anemometers at Taoabh in Morvern, Ben Losgann and Ben Bhuidh in Ardnamurchan and at Druim Leathad at Ardgour were rejected.

Speaking after the meeting, chairman of the planning committee, Drew McFarlane-Slack, said there had been concerns about the impact the construction of anemometer masts would have on the landscape.

'Ruin landscape'

He said: "There was a lengthy discussion at the planning committee today, which was attended by the largest number of objectors there have been at the planning meetings for the last 10 years.

"The committee discussed fully the issues surrounding the anemometer masts.

"There was some concern that the areas of great landscape would be affected by setting up these masts."

About 30 members of Fairwind were at the council meeting.

They believe the wind turbine proposals - which they say would create the largest wind farm in Europe - will ruin the Scottish landscape by turning it into an "industrial wasteland".

The group also argues that Scotland already exceeds the 10% renewable energy target set for other parts of the UK.

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