​​​​​​​Council to consult on Tain grazing land use for solar panels

The Highland Council is today (21 December) launching an 8-week Common Good consultation giving the Tain community until Friday 15 February 2019 to respond to draft proposals to install solar panels on Common Good grazing land at Blarliath.

The Council is keen to hear responses to this early proposal. All submissions to the consultation will be given full regard before a decision on whether, and how, to proceed is made.

This project would require investment from The Highland Council along with the use of Common Good land to install two sets of ground-mounted solar panel installations. The land would need to be let for the life of the solar panels (25 years with potential extension). The plots are currently let as rolling 364-day grazing lets. The renewable energy generated from the solar panels would supply nearby buildings for over 20 years.

Siting solar panels at Blarliath grazing has the potential to generate income for both Tain Common Good and The Highland Council for decades, supporting key services and local development. Using renewable ‘green’ solar energy also reduces carbon emissions.

One potential site of a solar installation is part of a 13 acre site at IV19 1PZ, located between the railway and mean high water springs and adjacent to the sewage works (Plot A). The second (Plot B) is a four acre site at IV19 1PZ, located between the railway and farm land to the rear of the superstore and adjacent to the industrial estate.

Councillor Gordon Adam, Chair of the Council’s Commercial Board, said: “The proposal represents real potential for The Highland Council and Tain Common Good Fund to generate income, and to reduce carbon emissions. Both of these are key priorities for The Highland Council. At this stage, however, I want to stress that it is only a proposal, and we will be carefully listening to all responses to the consultation before making any decision.

“Planning applications for the two sites will also be submitted in the New Year. This is to enable the Council and Tain Common Good Fund to meet a funding deadline for a ‘Feed in Tariff’ in early 2019 which requires planning permission to make an application. After this deadline, the FIT scheme is being withdrawn by the Government. If we do not meet this deadline, we would miss out on significant funding and risk the capacity for the project to progress, even if the consultation results support this. We therefore need to act quickly, but will not compromise acting fairly and responsibly.”

The consultation runs for eight weeks, closing on Friday 15 February 2019. The full consultation document and further information is available at


Please submit written responses either by email to sara.murdoch@highland.gov.uk or by post to Sara Murdoch, The Highland Council HQ, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX.

All consultation representations, responses and any final decision will be published on the Council website.

21 Dec 2018