COUNCIL chiefs will object to plans for 13 wind turbines to be situated near Inveraray – unless mitigation action is taken.

Argyll and Bute Council officers had recommended that councillors agree that the authority would not object to the Scottish Government proposal for the structures, which could reach as high as 180 metres.

However, concerns were raised about the effects on the landscape at Loch Awe, with discussion following on how to provide the feedback.

The debate took place at a meeting of the council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee on Wednesday, May 22.

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A report in advance of the meeting paraphrased the landscape consultant as saying: “It is not considered that appropriate design mitigation has been applied in line with National Planning Framework 4 Policy 11e (ii) and the significant adverse effects of the proposal could be mitigated to some degree by improving its appearance from key views.”

The applicant was paraphrased as saying: “Note that the review states ‘All wind farm developments will incur significant adverse landscape and visual effects and this proposal is no different in this respect’.

“Extensive work has gone into the design to develop a layout that contributes positively to carbon reduction targets, maximises energy yield whilst respecting technical and environmental constraints including ecological, ornithological, hydrological, cultural heritage and ground conditions. It is not proposed to make any further changes to the design at this time, as requested in the review.”

Oban North and Lorn independent Councillor Kieron Green, the committee’s chair, said: “In the past we have put in a holding objection, pending resolving a few issues. Is there a particular reason why the holding objection, pending changes to the design, was not considered this time?

“There have been no objections put in to us, and we are actually reaching a point where communities are suffering from consultation fatigue on wind farm developments.

“There are so many, and we have heard about the list of consented ones and ones which are in the pipeline, that communities lose track of what is happening.

“Community councils are being approached and nothing happens for a year or two. It just so happens that last week at two community councils, I mentioned this farm was up for consideration.

“They had members present, some of whom are very knowledgeable, and had no knowledge of this. I think people have not responded simply because it has got lost in the deluge of consultations which have been coming to them at different stages.”

Helensburgh and Lomond South LibDem councillor Paul Kennedy added: “You are giving us a whole catalogue of reasons to object to this, with different angles blocking views, even things suggested as mitigations. Why do we not just object to it instead of squaring the circle?”

Reviewing officer Sandra Davies said: “I appreciate that when you consider the advice of the landscape consultant, that is how it looks, because it does sound quite negative due to a lot of adverse effects being referred to.”

It was then agreed to object to the proposal unless the mitigation work referred to by the landscape consultant was undertaken.