Highlands & Islands

Protest held against SSE's Strathy South wind farm

Hen harrier
Image caption RSPB Scotland has raised concerns about the turbines' impact on birdlife

More than 30 people have protested outside Highland Council's headquarters in Inverness against plans for a 47-turbine wind farm in Sutherland.

Council officials recommended that councillors raised no objection to SSE Renewables' Strathy South scheme, on condition eight turbines were removed.

However, councillors have voted that the project go to a public inquiry.

SSE has said the project will have community benefits and regenerate a large area of peat bog.

The RSPB has concerns about the farm's impact on birds and said peat could be restored without the need for turbines.

Strathy and Armadale Community Council supports the planning application.

SSE Renewables started work in February on another wind farm in Sutherland, the 33-turbine Strathy North scheme.

The company said it was disappointed by Highland councillors' decision.

Colin Nicol, of SSE, said: "A great deal of hard work has gone into developing this project over the years working with the local community and key stakeholders.

"SSE is a responsible developer with a longstanding Highland heritage, this £200m project will deliver a significant contribution to renewable energy targets and jobs and substantial investment to an area of rural Scotland with a fragile economy."

RSPB Scotland said it was "delighted" the scheme will go to a public inquiry.

The charity's George Campbell said: "We are confident that once it has gone through that process, Scottish Ministers will refuse consent.

"I very much hope that SSE will recognise that the huge public concern that this proposal has triggered will not go away."

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