Scotland’s energy minister Fergus Ewing has refused planning consent for the proposed 77.5MW scheme.
The minister decided that the impact of the turbines on local residents was too great, and that the cumulative impact of the wind farm on views when considered together with existing and consented wind farms nearby, was too high.
The application was for 30 turbines on a hill 1.2km north east of Spittal Village, Caithness and was submitted by Spittal Hill Windfarm Ltd, owned by local landowners Tom and Steven Pottinger, and backed by Norwegian company, Statkraft
The local planning authority, the Highland Council, objected to the application and so a public local inquiry was held in May 2011. Following that inquiry an independent reporter appointed by Scottish ministers recommended that consent should be refused.
Energy minster Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland has enormous potential for renewable energy that is delivering jobs and investment across Scotland, and I am determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefit from renewable energy – but not at any cost and we will ensure a balanced approach in taking forward this policy, as we have in the past and will in future.
“The Scottish government wants to see the right developments in the right places and Scottish planning policy is clear that the design and location of any wind farm should reflect the scale and character of the landscape and should be considered environmentally acceptable.
“The impact of this proposed wind farm on the landscape, and the impact it would have on the homes of those who live closest to it, is too great.”