Councillors have been urged to throw out plans for three wind turbines in the Highlands – because they could jeopardise the radar system 40 miles away at RAF Lossiemouth.
The developer Wind Harvest Ltd wants permission to erect the 240ft structures at the Hill of Lychrobbie, Dunbeath, Caithness.
The scheme has attracted public support, in part because two of the proposed turbines would be financed, constructed and operated on behalf of the Berriedale and Dunbeath community, with all profits paid to a local interest group.
The application was first considered by councillors in April last year, but was deferred to try to iron out concerns, including an objection from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Military chiefs oppose the scheme because they say it will cause “unacceptable interference” to the Air Traffic Control radar service at RAF Lossiemouth, despite being almost 40 miles away over the Moray Firth.
The MoD insists that it will not reconsider its objection unless the applicant puts forward a “radar mitigation solution”, but this has not been forthcoming.
Members of Highland Council’s North Planning Applications Committee will consider the plans again at a meeting on Tuesday.
Officials have recommended that the councillors reject the application, saying: “In this instance the MoD objection to the planning application must be taken at face value, and whilst the applicant disagrees with the position set out by the MoD, its objection must still be treated as a serious and significant concern which remains unresolved.
“In particular it is noted that the MoD have stated that the development has been given the utmost scrutiny and that the objection has been thoroughly considered.
“As such it is evident that the air safety issues have not been resolved.
“The MOD also detail that only circumstances where an acceptable mitigation solution has been presented, can they remove their objection.”
The report added that the council was supportive of renewable energy schemes, but that it was “regrettable” that “no alternative options have been examined or presented” by the applicant since the proposal was last considered.