THE Scottish Government has refused Moray Council a moratorium on applications for wind turbines.
Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay MSP has written to council leader Allan Wright confirming the Government’s opposition to the request.
In his letter Mr Mackay refused the authority’s request, saying a moratorium on decision-making on wind turbines in Moray would be "an unprecedented step in Scottish planning practice".
However he welcomed news that the council is consulting on planning guidance for onshore wind turbines, adding that the Scottish Government wants to see an increase in the country’s renewable energy generation capability.
The decision to request a local moratorium was made on July 3 by members of the planning and regulatory services committee, making Moray the first authority in Scotland to take such action.
At the meeting, the committee approved a draft document containing updated guidance on dealing with planning applications for onshore wind turbines.
Approving the moratorium, the committee felt it would be inconsistent to accept new applications while the public’s views were being sought on the future of wind energy developments in Moray.
Councillor Wright said: "I am disappointed that our request has been refused by the Minister.
"I felt it was a reasonable one given that we are asking the people of Moray for their views on wind turbine planning for the future."
Douglas Ross, chairman of the planning and regulatory services committee, said: "When the committee announced we were seeking a moratorium from the Scottish Government we received significant support from the local community.
"This response will be a bitter blow to many people across Moray who felt it was a sensible and proportionate move."