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Councillors urged to block wind farm plan for Glen Affric

Mountaineers, local people and others are urging Highland councillors to refuse consent for a six turbine wind farm on the edge of the "world-famous landscape" of Glen Affric. The structures would be almost 400ft to blade tip, twice the height of Edinburgh's Scott Monument.

Mountaineers, local people and others are urging Highland councillors to refuse consent for a six turbine wind farm on the edge of the "world-famous landscape" of Glen Affric.

The structures would be almost 400ft to blade tip, twice the height of Edinburgh's Scott Monument.

Planning officials are recommending approval, but have attached a long list of conditions that must be met.

However the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) says these safeguards are not enough to protect the acclaimed glen which lies in the middle of the large tract of land between Loch Ness in the east and Loch Duich on the west coast.

On Monday members of the Highland Council's South Planning Applications Committee will visit the site on the slopes of Beinn Mhor, near Tomich, just to the south of the glen. The following day they will consider the application from the German developers 'the wpd.group.'

MCofS's Chief Officer David Gibson said: "This site cannot support a wind energy development of the scale proposed without causing an unacceptable and intrusive impact on the important and iconic landscape of the Glen Affric area, with consequent impacts on tourism.

"The... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Mountaineers, local people and others are urging Highland councillors to refuse consent for a six turbine wind farm on the edge of the "world-famous landscape" of Glen Affric.

The structures would be almost 400ft to blade tip, twice the height of Edinburgh's Scott Monument.

Planning officials are recommending approval, but have attached a long list of conditions that must be met.

However the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) says these safeguards are not enough to protect the acclaimed glen which lies in the middle of the large tract of land between Loch Ness in the east and Loch Duich on the west coast.

On Monday members of the Highland Council's South Planning Applications Committee will visit the site on the slopes of Beinn Mhor, near Tomich, just to the south of the glen. The following day they will consider the application from the German developers 'the wpd.group.'

MCofS's Chief Officer David Gibson said: "This site cannot support a wind energy development of the scale proposed without causing an unacceptable and intrusive impact on the important and iconic landscape of the Glen Affric area, with consequent impacts on tourism.

"The planning officer's report is disappointingly empty of original content and repeats much of the developer's own information. It is alarming that it recommends consent but makes no attempt to rebut the 1,019 objections from the public and two community councils, whereas there were only 179 responses in support. On tourism it contradicts itself, stating that the impact would be negligible and the development won't put hill users off climbing the mountains of this area yet also saying it may discourage repeat visits. "

He said there were existing and proposed wind farms in the vicinity at Bhlaraidh and Corrimony and to consent to this development, which would be closer to Glen Affric, would facilitate "the steady march of turbines to the west."

He said "The area has high scenic value which is of international repute and popular with a wide range of visitors, not just mountaineers. If consented, the development could turn a landscape which is outstanding into something which is plain ordinary."

But wpd rejects the idea the development would have such an impact on the landscape. It insists: "The project area was chosen because of its close proximity to other man-made structures, including overhead power lines, existing roads and communication masts. The wind power project could thus be built with only short sections of new access track required, minimising any impact on the environment. The surrounding hills and plateaus would shield the project area almost completely from the main travel routes, the town of Tomich and preserve the amenity of the area for local residents and visitors."

The company, which was founded in 1996 to develop wind power projects in partnership with landowners, said the Beinn Mhor wind farm could annually supply up to 9,800 households with clean and sustainably produced electricity.


Source: http://www.heraldscotland.c...

FEB 21 2015
http://www.windaction.org/posts/42220-councillors-urged-to-block-wind-farm-plan-for-glen-affric
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