The scheme has been ardently opposed by various councillors in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey since it was proposed in October 2008. The development is near a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Fort George, a scheduled ancient monument.
The sewage works will replace the existing treatment plant between Ardersier and Fort Gorge and will have the capacity to serve 9,000 people. The equipment will comprise an underground pump system with a valve chamber located above the ground, whilst the ground levels will be raised by approximately 2.2m and the site will be bounded by a 1.8m high security fence.
Access to the site will be obtained from an existing access road which adjoins the public road.
Although Scottish Water has stated that the new development will protect the environment of the Moray Firth and support the economy of the A96 Corridor, local residents have raised their concerns.
Local resident, Alisdair McKay, said: “It doesn’t seem logical to take the sewage from a massive new development through a village that has been there hundreds of years. That seems daft.”
Scottish Water’s communities manager for the Highlands, Joanna Peebles, said: “We’re pleased to receive planning permission for this important project. It’s a vital investment that shows how committed we are to protecting the natural environment of the Highlands and helping the local economy grow and thrive.
“We will work with the community of Ardersier during construction to keep them informed of the progress.”
Scottish Water has invested around £20m in Inverness and Nairn as part of its 2010 ‘Vision for the Highlands’. In Drumnadrochit, approximately £500,000 was invested in replacing various sections of old water mains and installing hydrants so the build-up of natural sediment could be removed and the system flushed clear. In addition, the sewage treatment works in Fort Augustus have undergone a £4.7m upgrade.
Joanna Peebles said: “Our investment is making a serious difference for the region. New water mains are delivering clearer, fresher supplies for customers while upgrades on the waste water side are helping to protect the environment, including the world famous Loch Ness.”