Salmond asked to stop huge wind farm above Loch Ness

April 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland said: “Recent media reports suggest
that Mr Salmond has begun listening to those who care for Scotland’s
countryside, but he has so far done nothing.”

It added that the time had come for the First Minister to show real
leadership by “acting to protect our mountains in this Year of Natural
Scotland, through the implementation of new and effective planning policy”.

David Gibson, MCofS chief officer, said the Monadhliaths should be
“cherished and protected” for the nation and visitors to enjoy, rather than
“industrialised” for profits.

He added: “We are sceptical of the Scottish Government’s commitment to
protecting wild land in mountain areas based on what we have seen to date.”

He said the proposed project was massive, covering an area around the size
of Inverness, with 443ft turbines that could be seen from the national park
and from many of Scotland’s mountain tops.

The proposed Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) development would be built
on the Garrogie Estate, near Fort Augustus.

Stronelairg is one of six wind farms either built or proposed on the west
side of Loch Ness and Helen McDade, head of policy for the John Muir Trust,
Scotland’s wild land charity, said the potential loss of wild land was “very
concerning” from a tourism and environmental point of view.

She added: “Although Stronelairg won’t be visible from the main road, once
people stop and go to their bed and breakfasts and then out into the hills
for a walk, or drive on the minor roads, it is going to have a massive
impact. The trust has called for a public inquiry into the project.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority has also objected, insisting the
landscape and visual impact along the edge of the park would be
“significant, adverse, and in some locations, overwhelming”.

A spokesman for SSE Renwables welcomed Monday’s decision by councillors,
adding: “The proposed scheme has been carefully designed to avoid being seen
from the main tourist routes and iconic attractions of the Great Glen,
including Loch Ness.

“Using SNH’s own criteria, the environmental impact assessment for the
project concluded that the site does not constitute wild land. The council’s
planning report also states that ‘human activity and development’ has become
‘part of the landscape’ in the area and that the ‘impact on wild land is not
considered to be significant enough for objections to be raised with the
Scottish Government’.”

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