Holyrood has given a developer leave to appeal against a council decision refusing planning permission for a £43M incinerator at Invergordon.
The Scottish Government allowed the move after deciding that Combined Power & Heat’s proposed plant met both the Highland structure plan and national policy.
Councillors on the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Planning Applications Committee who rejected the bid will not be happy with the ruling, which effectively overturns their earlier decision.
They said they had gone against recommendations to approve the scheme after 2,000 residents signed a petition expressing concerns over greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on the town.
Scotland government reporter Dannie Onn said that the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the body responsible for controlling pollution, had withdrawn its opposition to the incinerator after being provided with detailed information about its operation.
He added that the plant would be disguised with landscaping so as to not destroy the town’s character.