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LATEST INFORMATION

Thursday 12th Oct 2017


Druim Ba latest posting on DPEA website now indicates there will be no decision likely before mid December. Click this link to see the pdf publication from the DPEA website


Wednesday 6th Sept 2017


Druim Ba latest posting on DPEA website indicates there will be no decision before the end of October 2017.  Click this link to see the pdf publication from the DPEA website


Saturday 19th August 2017

Druim Ba appeal update.  Still no decision from the reporter as at today’s date.  The last notification on the DPEA website was 17th July 2017.  That notification was under ‘Case Review’ and read :


*Case Update 17 July 2017* Inquiry sessions and hearing sessions were held in respect of this appeal in May 2017. The reporter is considering his decision’.


Click here for a direct link to DPEA website relating to Druim Ba case reference PPA-270-2147


Friday 21st July 2017


Excellent News.  We have received word today that Force9 Energy/EDF will not be appealing against the Reporters decision so that should be the end of the matter regarding Cnoc an Eas.


Saturday 3rd June 2017


CNOC AN EAS WIND FARM – REPORTER REJECTS APPEAL

Great News!

The Scottish Government’s Reporter, Timothy Brian, has rejected the appeal by Force 9 Energy/EDF and decided that the Cnoc an Eas windfarm should not go ahead.

We are delighted with this outcome. In our view, if this wind farm had been approved it would have been very close to homes and would have had a disastrous impact on the character of Glen Urquhart.

We hope that this decision will send a message to other wind farm developers that Glen Urquhart and the surrounding area is not a suitable location for their schemes.

The decision is a win for local democracy as the proposal had been refused by our elected representatives on Highland Council. In addition, there is overwhelming local opposition to the wind farm as evidenced by the objections from four community councils, the Drumnadrochit Chamber of Commerce, Aigas Field Centre and hundreds of local residents.

National bodies such as Historic Environment Scotland, Mountaineering Scotland, Scotways, The Scottish Wild Land Group and The John Muir Trust also objected to the scheme and Scottish Natural Heritage raised serious concerns.

If local communities in Scotland had a veto against wind farms, the expense of fighting this appeal (incurred by Highland Council, STAG and other objector groups) could have been avoided.

We hope that Force 9 Energy/EDF will accept this decision as final and not appeal the decision or return with any revised or trimmed down proposals as has been the case elsewhere.

Force 9 Energy/EDF now has 6 weeks to decide whether to appeal to the Court of Session. Such an appeal can only be made if they consider the Reporter has made an error in law. This would involve the Reporter misinterpreting or misapplying a policy or failing to take account of an important consideration. They cannot appeal just because they disagree with the decision.

The Reporter has rejected the appeal largely because of the adverse impact the windfarm would have on the Corrimony Chambered Cairn.

He also considers that there would be significant visual impact from the Affric Kintail Way and from either side of Loch Ness. He says that there would be significant cumulative impact when viewed from hilltops on the west side of Loch Ness (in particular Meall Fuar ‘mhonaidh) and that this would contribute to the impression that they are becoming surrounded by wind turbines.

He notes that the “proposal does not compare favourably with certain of the criteria” in the recently adopted Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance.

Mr Brian states that “even after allowing for the undoubted but limited socio-economic and climate change benefits of the scheme, I conclude that the adverse impacts would be so severe that the proposal would be significantly detrimental overall, on its own and in combination with other developments”.

He also says that “even if the project included an element of community ownership I do not consider that this is an appropriate location for (the) development proposed”.

Referring to Scottish Government policy, the Reporter states “I do not consider that the development of a windfarm at Cnoc an Eas would represent the right development in the right place; nor do I consider that the proposed development would adequately protect the historic environment or areas of special landscape value”.

However, it should be noted that, in arriving at his decision, the Reporter did not accept that:

1. Glen Urquhart itself, is an important feature of the Loch Ness Special Landscape Area,
2. the turbines would be overbearing from any of the nearby residential properties,
3. it was likely that the Cnoc an Eas scheme would have an adverse impact on tourism in the area,
4. the proposal should be rejected on grounds of ecology, nature conservation or forestry, or
5. that there were insurmountable issues in respect of traffic or site access.

We will have to agree to disagree with him on these issues!

The full decision can be viewed by clicking this link  Reporters Decision Notice

The Cnoc an Eas proposal gave rise to nearly three years of undue stress and uncertainty for local residents; not to mention the many volunteer hours needed to mount an effective campaign against the proposal. We are now looking forward to getting our lives back!

We would take this opportunity to thank our members, donors, local residents and other objector groups for their support and the hours of effort that they have put in to fighting the Cnoc an Eas scheme.

Without the many generous donations received, STAG would not have been able to mount an effective campaign against this wind farm.

Friday 2nd June 2017


BREAKING NEWS!

Cnoc an Eas appeal refused - the wind farm has been rejected - more to follow.   Click this link to view copy of Reporters Decision Notice


Tuesday 16th May 2017

Cnoc an Eas - Appeal update

There is still nothing definite about when the appeal might be decided. The target date is 19th May 2017 but the reporter has recently received a report concerning an active Golden Eagles nest in the area.  He has referred the matter to SNH for comment – so presumably nothing can be finalised until they have responded.


Saturday 8th April 2017

CNOC AN EAS. WRITTEN CLOSING SUBMISSIONS FROM APPELLANT F9E/EDF
The written Closing Submission from the appellants is now available online and can be viewed by clicking on the links below.  There are two documents, the first being the appellants Closing Submission and second is the response from the appellant to the closing submissions of the objectors:


Appellants F9E/EDF Closing Submission

Appellants F9E/EDF response to closing submissions lodged by objectors


Friday 7th Apr 2017


CNOC AN EAS. WRITTEN CLOSING SUBMISSIONS FROM OBJECTORS.

The written Closing Submissions from those who took part in the inquiry/hearing sessions are now available online.  For your convenience we have put them on STAG website and they can be viewed by clicking the following links below.  There are 7 submissions in all:

STAG

Historic Environment Scotland

Glen Urquhart Community Council

Mountaineering Scotland

Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society

Dr Shirley Gold

The Highland Council

The closing submission from the appellants F9E/EDF should be lodged by Monday 10th Apr 2017 and we will post a link to that document when we have it to hand.



CNOC AN EAS APPEAL INQUIRY/HEARINGS (6th to 9th March 2017).


Monday afternoon – accompanied visit to the Corrimony Chambered Cairn (CCC) – in good weather conditions.


Tuesday – Inquiry – Impact on CCC.


This session was mainly between Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and the appellant. The Council (THC) kept a low profile and STAG didn’t take part.


It was about whether there would be an adverse impact on the “integrity” of the “setting” of the CCC and if so, would it affect how we appreciate the “cultural significance” of the cairn.


The appellant’s expert argued that the SW direction was important (ie towards the setting sun – away from the CCC) and because of this, the NE direction (towards the turbines) was less important and therefore the boundary of the setting in that direction did not extend to the horizon.


Three representatives from HES argued the opposite and faced harsh cross examination from the appellant’s QC. Although this did not appear to go well for HES, it is generally accepted that there is an adverse impact on the CCC so it remains a question for Reporter to decide how bad he considers this impact to be.


Wednesday – Hearing – Landscape & visual including visual impact on residential amenity


Andrew Smith (F9E) insisted on playing his video of a car journey along the A831 – not a turbine in site! This was rubbished by Pam Lucas (GUCC) and others and I think most people in the room agreed with them.


The contribution by STAG’s landscape architect was crucial because using similar methodology to the Appellant; he demonstrated that they have underestimated the visual impact from some of the viewpoints. Much of the discussion concerned Meal Fuar ‘mhonaidh and the visibility of the turbines from Loch Ness (around Urquhart Castle). The view from the forestry track on the south side of Loch Meiklie (by the mast) is now accepted as an “alternative viewpoint” to the discredited viewpoint 4 – forestry carpark picnic table. The Reporter will be visiting both viewpoints in due course.


There were contributions from Mountaineering Scotland and Scotways. Scotways argued that a tipping point had been reached with the proliferation of turbines in the Highlands. The Reporter was referred to STAG’s “Ring of Steel” turbine map.


THC defended their reasons for refusing the application and the appellant put forward arguments as to why they thought it was wrong. The GUCC made several interventions concerning forestry issues and the fact that the appellant has little or no control over forestry screening.


With regard to the visual impact on residential amenity, there is a legal test of whether the adverse impact is so bad a property would be regarded as an “unattractive” place to live. If this was deemed to apply that would probably be the end of the wind farm. THC, the Appellant and our own advisers accept that the distance of the houses from the nearest turbines (and the orientation of the houses) mean that we do not reach this degree of adverse impact – they base this on experience of other cases. However, it was stressed by THC’s QC that just because this test doesn’t apply, doesn’t mean that adverse visual impacts on houses are not significant. Or that they shouldn’t be given weight in the planning decision.


Dr Gold (representing those living closest to the site) made a number of points relating to those living closest to the wind farm site and relating to access.



Thursday morning – Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance (OSWSG).


The OSWSG is now part of the Development Plan. However, in the final version an additional zone – the Loch Ness Study Area – has been overlaid on the landscape character areas map. The Cnoc an Eas turbines fall just outside this zone. This means that Chapter 5 which deals with wind farm capacity (no turbines on higher ground, only small turbines associated with existing buildings etc) does not strictly apply. All parties seem to have realised this quite late and it would seem to be at odds with what was sent out in the consultation process. THC argued that due to the proximity of the turbines to the study area, Chapter 5 should still be regarded as a material consideration.


There was a lengthy exchange between the QCs about whether the rest of the OSWSG actually added anything to Policy 67. STAG’s consultant said that he thought Cnoc an Eas failed Policy 67 regardless of the OSWSG.


The rest of the OSWSG still applies to Cnoc an Eas and we think the Reporter will still give some weight to Chapter 5.


Thursday morning – Conditions


This was largely a matter between THC and the Appellant and most potential conditions had been agreed. Dr Gold and Pam Lucas made a number of points concerning access, traffic and pollution.


The Inquiry/Hearing session concluded at lunch time.


Thursday Afternoon


In good weather conditions, there were accompanied visits to the wind farm site, access points and selected houses closest to the site. We think this would have been very useful to the Reporter as the proximity of homes to the access and its shortcomings were obvious. Further to the earlier hearing session, our understanding is that Access Option B (furthest away from homes) will be the one taken forward if the scheme is approved – the one “preferred” by those living nearby.


We think the Reporter conducted the Inquiry/Hearings fairly and ensured that the “locals” had an opportunity to get their views across. STAG was represented on all accompanied site visits.


What happens next?


The Reporter will visit all the remaining viewpoints including the high mountains and the mast above Loch Meiklie on an unaccompanied basis (our advisers think this is best).


STAG and the other objectors who took part in the inquiry/hearings will prepare written closing submissions by 27th March. THC will submit their closing submission by 3rd April (having seen the others). Finally, having seen the submissions from the THC and objectors, the Appellant submits theirs by 10th April (these dates will be confirmed). So the Appellant gets the last word!


The DPEA website quotes a “target date” of 19th May – assumed to relate to a decision. We have been told that whilst this date is possible, it should be considered highly optimistic.


Given the complexities of the procedures and issues raised throughout the application process and culminating in the appeal, we remain convinced that it was right to employ our own consultants.


As regards our chances of success – that is anybody’s guess. It boils down to whether the Reporter decides that the adverse impacts of the wind farm are outweighed by the contribution it will make to national energy policy.


Monday 13th Jan 2017


The Cnoc an Eas wind farm appeal inquiry and hearings sessions will take place from the 7th - 10th March, at the Cannich Hall. Sessions will commence at 10:00am.

The inquiry session to look into the impact on the Corrimony Chambered Cairn will take place on Tuesday, 7th March, during which, the Reporter will hear evidence from Historic Environment Scotland and the Appellant.

Starting on Wednesday, 8th March, there will be a series of hearing sessions as follows:

1. Landscape and visual impact, including cumulative visual impact and visual impact on residential amenity.

2. Consideration of the proposal in relation to the Highland Council's Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance.

3. Conditions to be imposed should the proposal gain planning consent, including conditions during the construction period.

Whilst we are aware of the order of proceedings, we cannot say for sure on which day each hearing will commence.


Prior to the start of the inquiry, the documents relating to the original planning application and subsequent appeal will be available to the general public at Glenurquhart Public Library.

Members of the public are welcome to attend any or all of the sessions. Please be aware that the inquiry may be filmed and published on the internet as part of the DPEA's webcasting service.
 


Saturday 23rd July 2016

Please help to save our glen from 13 giant turbines at Cnoc an Eas near Balnain, by taking the time to object to the F9E/EDF appeal by Friday, 29th July 2016.

Force 9 Energy (fronting for EDF) has appealed against the Highland Council’s refusal of their Cnoc an Eas wind farm scheme. If the appeal is allowed, we will have 13 giant turbines towering over our homes and dominating the landscape here in Balnain, Glen Urquhart.

The wind farm will be visible from Loch Ness to the east and the hills of Glen Affric and Wild Land Area No 24 to the west.

Highland Council refused the scheme for the following reasons:

1. The wind farm would have a detrimental visual impact as viewed from properties, by travellers (including tourists) and by recreational users of the outdoors;

2. The wind farm would have a significantly detrimental cumulative visual impact as viewed by recreational users of the outdoors in the wider vicinity but particularly from the summit of Meall Fuar ‘mhonaidh;

3. The wind farm will have a detrimental impact on the special qualities of the Loch Ness Special Landscape Area; and

4. The wind farm will be detrimental to the setting of the Corrimony Chambered Cairn (scheduled monument).

Force 9 Energy (fronting for EDF) disagree with the above and state that any detrimental impacts are outweighed by the “economic benefits” of the wind farm together with the contribution it will make to Government energy targets. WE STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH THIS.

The developer’s figures for “economic benefits” contain questionable estimates and do not take account of any downsides – in particular, they say that there will be no impact on tourism. We estimate that the wind farm will only produce about 0.3% of Scottish gross annual electricity consumption.

Local residents have real concerns about operational noise, road safety during the construction period and the proposed site access. The developer considers that any adverse impact on local wild life is acceptable.

The wind farm is opposed by local residents, four community councils, the Drumnadrochit Chamber of Commerce, Historic Environment Scotland, The John Muir Trust, The Mountaineering Council of Scotland and The Scottish Wild Land Group. But still the developer is allowed to appeal to the Scottish Government!

 How do I lodge objections with the DPEA?


You can send in either of the 2 ways listed below:

1. Send your objection/comment by email to: jane.robertson@gov.scot  quoting Ref PPA-270-2155.  If attaching documents please limit size to 10mb.

2.   By post to:

Planning and Environmental Appeals Division
Unit 4, The Courtyard
Callendar Business Park
Callendar Road
FALKIRK
FK1 1XR


Once again, very important to include the case reference number of:

PPA-270-2155 and we understand you should also include your name and address.  According to the DPEA website: “ In order to comply with the Data Protection Act (DPA) we remove all signatures, personal telephone numbers, and personal e-mail addresses from documents that we publish.”


A simple template letter of submission below:


To: Planning and Environmental Appeals Division
Unit 4, The Courtyard
Callendar Business Park
Callendar Road
FALKIRK
FK1 1XR

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: DPEA reference:  PPA-270-2155  


       Objection to proposed windfarm at Cnoc an Eas


I am writing to comment on the appeal made by Force9 Energy on the decision by Highland Council to refuse planning consent for the Cnoc an Eas Windfarm.


PUT YOUR COMMENTS HERE


Yours faithfully,

Mr/Mrs/Miss
Name and address


Thank you for your continued support.

 _______________________


Friday 15th July 2016 Cnoc an Eas


Documents relating to the appeal are now available online on both The Highland Council & the DPEA websites. Possibly the two documents that will interest most of us are the Non-Technical Summary and the Statement of Appeal,  which are both available on our web site for quick reference or download. Follow these links below:

LVIA Non-Technical Summary

Statement of Appeal

Should you wish to see other documents relating to the the appeal which have been lodged with Highland Council, these are available by this link:

http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/appealDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=O9Y6OYIH09A00

Documents lodged on the DPEA web site are on this link:

https://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/CaseDetails.aspx?ID=117533

More details will follow regarding latest dates for appeal, and also procedures for lodging appeals,  as soon as these dates become available to us.  One thing we do know is that the cut off date for comments will only be two weeks!

Cnoc an Eas wind farm.


Force9/EDF have today, Thursday 7th July 2016, lodged an appeal with the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA).  We will post further details here as soon as they are made available and give guidance on how to lodge further comments and/or any previous objections sent to The Highland Council. The details are expected to become available in the next few days.  



Cnoc an Eas wind farm planning application refused today 9th May 2016.  We will post here if Force9/EDF lodge an appeal. They have until 9th Aug 2016 to do this.

For full report of Cnoc an Eas planning refusal ‘Full Case Report 15_02758_FUL-REPORT_OF_HANDLING-986133’ Click here.


Documents relating to the Supplementary Environmental Information (SEI) that has been lodged by Force9Energy/EDF can be accessed from the following link


http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=NRJB87IHI9O00
























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