A SENIOR Highland councillor has warned that wind farms could reach capacity in the region by 2017.
Ian Ross, the outgoing chairman of Highland Council’s planning, environment and development committee, has claimed the number of major turbine schemes may soon be at their limit.
The local authority has considered applications from a number of companies to build wind farms across the region, several of which are with the Scottish Government for consideration.
“The Highland economy has much to gain from renewables but I do believe in the medium term, five years plus, we are about to reach the point where there will be limited capacity for larger onshore wind farms,” said Mr Ross, who is not seeking re-election in May and stressed it was his own personal view.
The Liberal Democrat councillor (East Sutherland and Edderton) called on the Government to revise its policy and consider the impact on the Highlands before that time comes. But Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Rob Gibson denied the region could run out of suitable locations in the next five years.
“The maps show there are few areas which are affected by too many actual wind farms when they are finally approved,” said the SNP politician. “Farming the air will cut fossil fuel use. Where the wind blows most can be appropriate to many more parts of the Highlands. The community benefits will be most welcome.”