An application by Catamount Energy to build a wind farm at Abercairny near Crieff in Scotland has been declined by ministers due to the damage such a development would cause to the environment.

Ministers took the decision following a consultation process which involved environmental groups, government bodies and members of the public. A public inquiry was also convened.

The inquiry reporter recommended rejection of the application on the basis that the proposed development would have significant adverse impacts on the local environment which could not otherwise be addressed.

Scotland’s deputy minister for enterprise, Allan Wilson, gave his reasons for rejecting the application:

We have a commitment to generate 40% of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. And we are making good progress. Our aim remains to ensure that we take advantage of Scotland’s extensive renewables potential whilst safeguarding our natural heritage. In short, the circumstances must be right for all new renewable energy developments.

In January 2004, Catamount Energy applied for consent to construct a wind farm at Abercairny near Crieff. The proposal comprised 24 turbines and would have had a generating capacity of 66MW.

An inquiry report found that the proposal would not serve to preserve the natural beauty of the area, and that some sites have some historic and architectural interests which may not be protected.

Ministers are not bound to accept the findings of the inquiry report; they can disagree with some or all of the findings but where they disagree they must state their reasons.