Highland Council has issued a reminder that consultation continues on draft Landscape Appraisals to help in the consideration of future proposals for wind energy development.
Two landscape sensitivity appraisals are currently being consulted on: one for the Caithness study area and another covering The Black Isle, surrounding hills and Moray Firth Coast. They are the next two in a programme of appraisals for areas in Highland that are under pressure for wind energy development.
Consultation on the two appraisals began on 25 November, following the Council’s adoption of its Onshore Wind Energy
Supplementary Guidance. David Cowie, a Principal Planner in the Council’s Development Plans Team, explained: “The adopted Supplementary Guidance includes the outputs of the landscape sensitivity appraisal that we undertook for the Loch Ness area. We intend that once the two appraisals that we are now inviting comments on have been finalised, they will be added to and likewise be part of the Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance. As with the Loch Ness study, the draft appraisals set out key aspects for each study area that we would take into consideration when managing planning applications for all scales of onshore wind energy development. It would be a guide that provides context for the detailed assessment of individual proposals, provides general advice on the likely form of development appropriate in different areas and would help us to identify scope for development.”
The appraisals were drafted by a working group that included Landscape, Development Management and Development Plans Officers of Highland Council, working alongside Officers from Scottish Natural Heritage – bringing together their range of technical and local knowledge and expertise.
The easiest way to read and comment on the Draft Landscape Appraisals is through the Council’s consultation portal at consult.highland.gov.uk (external link) . Anyone without internet access can view a paper copy of the document at Service Points or Public Libraries in or near the areas covered by the landscape appraisals. Comments should be submitted via the portal wherever possible – comments by letter or email will not be accepted unless otherwise agreed in advance with the Development Plans Team.