A leading Euro-MP has called for the Euro-pean Commission to halt windfarm projects that he fears could ruin the wilderness of Dava Moor.
Tory MEP, Struan Stevenson, has attacked plans to build five giant wind farms on the northern edge of the Cairngorms National Park, describing them as “vandalism on a grand scale”.
He will now be submitting a dossier to the Environment Commissioner in Brussels, drawing attention to several potential breaches of European Union directives.
The MEP is calling for the European Commission to order an immediate stop to the schemes until a full and detailed investigation has been undertaken.
Five different companies have applications in the pipeline to construct around 130 giant turbines in the area.
Speaking following his second visit to Dava in the past month, Mr Stevenson said: “The forest of turbines will industrialise the entire landscape, each tower rearing up to over 425ft ““ well over twice the height of the Scott Monument.
“There will be more than 30 miles of roads built across the moor to service the turbines, together with many miles of giant pylons to take the power to the national grid.
“More than 1,000 tonnes of concrete will be needed to provide a foundation for each of the 130 turbines.
“This is vandalism on a grand scale. Dava Moor is one of the great wilderness areas of Scotland, written about lyrically by famous authors such as Maurice Walsh.
“It is part of our rich landscape and cultural heritage, with Lochindorb Castle, a rare island fortress dating back to the 13th century and once home to the infamous Wolf of Badenoch, perched on its island in the middle of the loch.
“Lochindorb comes from the Gaelic meaning ‘Loch of Trouble’, but even the Wolf of Badenoch could never have envisaged the wanton rape of this idyllic landscape by power companies in pursuit of rich profits in the headlong rush to achieve targets for renewable energy.
“The cumulative impact of these five wind farms on this designated area of great landscape value will be appalling.
The MEP continued: “Most of the area is covered by deep blanket bog with peat up to four metres deep, much of which is over 2,000 years old.
“The wind farms will require massive excavation of this ultra-sensitive area, with consequent disturbance to the fragile eco-system and hydrology, leading to potentially disastrous impacts on the lower regions of the Findhorn River, themselves listed as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).
“Dava Moor has for millennia been a wildlife linkage corridor from the Spey to the Findhorn with capercaillies, golden eagles, ospreys, buzzards, red-throated divers, lapwings, skylarks and ravens all present among a diverse and thrilling abundance of species.
“All will be put at risk by this huge windfarm development.
“The tourists, hill-walkers and ramblers who come to Dava Moor from around the world, bringing vital income to this remote part of the Highlands, will stop coming once the landscape has become a forest of steel and the moor has been criss-crossed with concrete.
“Scotland is fortunate to have such places of unsurpassed beauty. We owe a great debt to our ancestors, who braved cold, hunger and hardship to eke out a precarious living on the remote crofts and farms of Dava.
“We cannot now allow this virgin wilderness to be raped and vandalised.
There are already major wind farms at Farr and Paul’s Hill by Ballindalloch, and there are plans in the pipeline for similar large-scale developments at Carn Duhie by Dava Moor; Glenkirk, by Tomatin; Berryburn, by Dunphail, and Tom nan Clach, near Drynachan.
The Cairngorm National Park’s policy is to reject any plans for major renewable projects such as wind farms within its boundaries ““ although their stance has yet to be challenged ““ which partly explains the rash of applications.
Campaigner Jeannie Munro (54) and other Dava residents are directly battling plans for a wind farm by Renewable Energy Systems (RES) about nine miles north of Grantown, in two two-mile arcs around Cairn Duhie. The overall height of the 15 turbines from blade to tip could be 100 metres.
Ms Munro said: “Looking out from the foothills of Lochindorb, the skyline along the top of the ridges would be dominated by wind farms at Tom nan Clach, Glenkirk, Cairn Duhie, Berryburn and Paul’s Hill.
“Money-grabbing developers are raping our most cherished landscapes, and this is only the start,” said Ms Munro.
By Gavin Musgrove
6 June 2007
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