Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Council

Date: Friday, 22 November 2019

Minutes: Read the Minutes

Minutes of Special Meeting of the Highland Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Thursday, 22 November 2019 at 10.30 am.

1.  Calling of the Roll and Apologies for Absence
A’ Gairm a’ Chlàir agus Leisgeulan


Mr B Boyd, Mr R Bremner (vc), Mrs C Caddick, Mrs I Campbell (excluding item 3.1), Mr G Cruickshank, Mrs K Currie, Mrs M Davidson, Mr M Finlayson, Mr C Fraser, Mr R Gale, Mr J Gordon (excluding item 3.1), Mr A Graham, Mr T Heggie, Mr B Lobban, Mr D Louden, Mr D Mackay, Mr D Macpherson, Mr R MacWilliam, Mr J McGillivray (vc), Mr H Morrison, Mr M Reiss, Mrs T Robertson, Mr P Saggers and Ms M Smith.

In Attendance:

Dafydd Jones, Acting Head of Development Management – Highland
Mrs G Pearson, Planner
Ms J Bridge, Senior Engineer
Mrs K Lyons, Principal Solicitor
Alison MacArthur, Administrative Assistant

Mr B Lobban in the Chair

Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Mr G Adam, Mr A Baxter, Mr I Brown, Mr J Bruce, Mrs J Campbell, Mrs G Campbell-Sinclair, Mrs H Carmichael, Mr A Christie, Dr I Cockburn, Mrs M Cockburn, Mr J Finlayson, Mr K Gowans, Mr J Gray, Mr A Henderson, Mr A Jarvie, Mrs L MacDonald, Mr R MacDonald, Mr A MacInnes, Mr W Mackay, Mr G Mackenzie, Mrs A MacLean, Mr D MacLeod, Mrs B McAllister, Mr N MacLean, Ms L Munro, Mrs M Paterson, Mr D Rixson, Mrs F Robertson, Mr K Rosie, Mr G Ross, Mr A Sinclair, Ms N Sinclair and Mr B Thompson.

2.  Declarations of Interest
Foillseachaidhean Com-pàirt

There were no declarations of interest.

3.  Applications to be Determined
Dealbhaidh rin Dearbhadh

3.1 Applicant: Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Plc (19/00374/FUL) (HC/60/19) (HC/51/19)
Location: Land 1000 m SE of Dalchork House, Lairg.
Nature of Development: Erection and operation of a 132 kV substation comprising platform area, control building, associated plant and infrastructure, ancillary facilities, public road improvements to the A836 between the site entrance and the junction with the A838, upgrade of an existing forest track, site compound (half of which will remain permanent for operational purposes) and landscape works (Ward 1 – North, West and Central Sutherland.
Recommendation: Grant.

There had been circulated Report No HC/060/19 and recirculated Report No HC/51/19, by the Acting Head of Development Management - Highland recommending that the Committee grant the application subject to the conditions detailed in the report. 

This item was then taken in accordance with the Hearings Procedure and Mr K Reid, Environmental Project Manager and Ms L Riach, Town Planner representing the applicant attended.

Mr Reid advised that the development was for the erection of a new substation to provide a connection for contracted renewable generation in the area to the electricity transmission network via a proposed new double circuit 132 kV overhead line and underground cable to Loch Buidhe Substation.  Following the previous meeting of the Highland Council, Members had been provided with visualisations, drone footage and the movements of HGV vehicles as requested.  The drone footage was then presented. 

There were no requests for clarification from the Members.

There were no community council representatives present.

Mrs E Armstong, objector, then spoke pointing out to Members the impact of this powerline (application 19/01236/S37, item 3.2 of the agenda) and the highly visible substation in this area. 

Mr A Marshall, objector, then spoke expressing his concerns for the safety of residents and the road infrastructure to the north of Lairg.  The only road consideration had been for the actual junction point.  The road bends outside of Lairg were the most dangerous for road users, cyclists and pedestrians.  HGVs would be generated by both projects and the safety concerns in relation to this had not been addressed.   He appealed to the Council that a cycle path between Dalchork and Lairg be a condition of the planning permission. 

As far as Mr Marshall and Mrs Armstrong were aware no Community Liaison Group had been set up.

The objectors then responded to points of clarification from the Members as follows:

  • confirmation that local people did walk the road for shopping and that tourists and cyclists often cycled and walked this route;
  • the route of the cycle path was outlined as from Lairg village up to the junction access point to the site that would be created by SSE; and
  • the site had been reduced in size and Mr Marshall hoped that, after this, the substation would not be enlarged as a consequence of wind turbine developments.

Members were content with the information supplied.  The objectors were content with the hearings procedure.

The applicant was content with the hearings procedure and the hearings procedure was therefore completed. 

The Planning Officer then gave a presentation on the application, put forward her recommendation and responded to Members’ questions as follows:

  • as part of the submission the applicant had looked at the construction traffic and they had noted the request for the cycle path along the A836.  The proposals would have a significant impact with the increase of heavy traffic, however this was a temporary impact over a six month period.  The cost of constructing a dedicated cycle footway over that distance was significant.  Traffic management would be utilised to manage the road i.e. 20 mph speed limit, travelling to and from the site out with school start/finish times.
  • the traffic management plan would manage the upkeep of the road, initial photographs would be taken of the road and it would be monitored and any deterioration would have to be made good by the applicant.  This was considered proportionate with the development; and
  • the site was just over 54 hectares, the landscaping and planting proposed by the applicant was within the red line.

During discussion, comments included the following:

  • a considerable amount of mitigation of the development would be secured through condition;
  • there had been compromise on both sides;
  • concern expressed regarding road safety and the increase in HGV vehicles using the A836.

Mr R Bremner, seconded by Mr D Louden, moved that the application be granted subject to (i) the conditions contained in the report and the supplementary report, (ii) an additional condition securing the formation of a Community Liaison Group (to be chaired by a member of the community local to the application site) at least 2 months prior to the commencement of the development and to include within the Group’s remit to explore with the Council’s roads engineers and the applicant the provision of a foot/cycleway to improve pedestrian/cyclist safety and mitigate the impact of the increase in HGV traffic movements in the area due to the proposed development, where it is deemed appropriate by those parties, and (iii) to the prior conclusion of an agreement under section 96 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 (if considered necessary by Transport Planning).


The Council therefore AGREED to GRANT planning permission subject to the conditions contained in the report and the supplementary report, the additional condition and the agreement (if necessary). 

3.2 Applicant: Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Plc (19/01236/S37) (HC/52/19)
Location: Land 1000 m SE of Dalchork House, Lairg (Ward 1 – North, West and Central Sutherland.
Nature of Development: Lairg to Loch Buidhe 132 kV overhead line.
Recommendation: Raise no objection.

There had been recirculated Report No HC/052/19 by the Acting Head of Development Management - Highland recommending that the Committee grant the application subject to the conditions detailed in the report. 


The Council AGREED to RAISE NO OBJECTION subject to the conditions contained in the report.

The meeting ended at 12.45 pm.