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Charity blasts wind farm as scenic disaster for Highlands

OUTSTANDING views from five of Scotland's best-loved peaks will be ruined if controversial plans for a major wind farm in the Highlands go ahead, claims a leading environmental charity.

The John Muir Trust, the conservation charity which owns Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain, fears that an 89 million renewable energy development proposed for the Lochluichart Estate in Ross-shire will dominate a landscape overlooked by the towering peaks of five of the country's most popular Munros.

And the charity, which lodged a formal objection to the development with the Scottish Executive, also claims the scheme will destroy the wild character of a major tourist gateway to the north-west Highlands.

Hamish Leslie Melville, a leading banker and former chairman of the National Trust for Scotland, is the owner of the 30,000-acre estate and one of the partners in LZN, the company formed to spearhead the development. The consortium also includes the Dutch wind farm giant KDE and the property consultancy Savills.

The consortium has submitted plans to build a 43-turbine development near Garve. Each turbine would be 125 metres high.

Nigel Hawkins, the director the John Muir Trust, said last night the development would ruin the views from some of Scotland's finest mountains, dominate a huge area of scenic beauty and destroy the wild character of one of the most outstanding landscapes in the country.

He... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The John Muir Trust, the conservation charity which owns Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain, fears that an £89 million renewable energy development proposed for the Lochluichart Estate in Ross-shire will dominate a landscape overlooked by the towering peaks of five of the country's most popular Munros.

And the charity, which lodged a formal objection to the development with the Scottish Executive, also claims the scheme will destroy the wild character of a major tourist gateway to the north-west Highlands.

Hamish Leslie Melville, a leading banker and former chairman of the National Trust for Scotland, is the owner of the 30,000-acre estate and one of the partners in LZN, the company formed to spearhead the development. The consortium also includes the Dutch wind farm giant KDE and the property consultancy Savills.

The consortium has submitted plans to build a 43-turbine development near Garve. Each turbine would be 125 metres high.

Nigel Hawkins, the director the John Muir Trust, said last night the development would ruin the views from some of Scotland's finest mountains, dominate a huge area of scenic beauty and destroy the wild character of one of the most outstanding landscapes in the country.

He said: "The giant turbines will be seen from Ben Wyvis, Beinn Dearg, Sgurr Mor, An Teallach and Slioch, some of the most outstanding mountains in Scotland. They will be a major intrusion in an area of such wild splendour."

Mr Hawkins claimed: "The complex infrastructure needed to support a massive wind power development will include roads and tracks which will themselves be a very visible scar on an unspoiled landscape and there will be three quarries or "borrow pits", each more than 100 metres long, which will also be highly visible over a large area."

He claimed the site would spoil views for the thousands of tourists who take the Inverness to Ullapool or Achnasheen roads.

He added: "An assessment needs to be made of the potential economic impact of this development before any decision is taken."

Helen McDade, the trust's policy officer, said the trust was also concerned about the consequences of the Lochluichart wind farm development being sited on peatland, which would lead to significant release of carbon dioxide, running contrary to the main argument in favour of wind farms, that they reduce emissions.

"Since this type of development is being proposed to counteract carbon dioxide emissions it should not be built on significant peat deposits," said Ms McDade.

"The trust is calling for the Executive to develop a national strategy for decisions on major applications of this kind. This will prioritise the most appropriate methods and sites for renewable energy generation."

Source: http://news.scotsman.com/po...

FEB 2 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1152-charity-blasts-wind-farm-as-scenic-disaster-for-highlands
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