Page last updated at 00:00 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 01:00 UK

Fast-track call for wind schemes

Wind turbines in Caithness and Sutherland
The Highlands provide sites for several major wind schemes

Single and small-scale wind turbine projects should be fast-tracked through the planning process, an energy company chief has said.

Lorne MacLeod, chairman of Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company, said communities were frustrated by how long it took to deal with applications.

He argued that small-scale projects in remote areas were worthwhile.

A scheme on Gigha made a 100,000 net profit from its wind farm in its first full trading year.

Mr MacLeod said: 'It would appear that proposals for single, or a small number of turbines, are being subject to similar levels of scrutiny as planning applications from large commercial wind farms.

"I am greatly concerned at the length of time taken for projects to go through the planning process.

"The situation in Tiree is a case in point, where the application was not formally considered by the planning committee until 12 months after the date it was lodged."

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