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EC could block wind plans  

The European Commission could intervene and force developers to remove any wind farms eventually built by Dava Moor, it has been warned.

There are five separate schemes consisting of around 130 wind turbines up to 140 metres (425ft) in height proposed for the area in and around Lochindorb, north of Grantown and on the doorstep of the Cairngorms National Park.

Mr Struan Stevenson, Scottish Tory MEP, believes that the renewable schemes would be in contravention of three European Directives and they should be put on hold for further consideration by Brussels.

He has branded the plans “disgraceful” and claimed they amount to the rape of one of Scotland’s most beautiful wildernesses.

Just before the summer recess of the parliament, Mr Stevenson handed over on behalf of the campaign group Save Our Dava a large dossier on the projects to the EC.

“By giving it personally to Environment Commissioner Stavos Dimas I am hoping that this will fast-track the intervention of the EC,” said the MEP.

“It shows how we believe there are prima facie breaches of at least three major European Directives involved with this cumulative project – the Birds Directive; the Planket Peat Bog Directive and the Habitat Directive.

“I hope as a result the EC will tell the Scottish Executive to put on hold any further consideration of these projects until the commission has decided whether there is a case to answer.”

Mr Stevenson is confident that an investigation will be launched by the EC and hopes to gain a response within the next few weeks.

If any breaches were subsequently found the Executive would be forced to stop the projects, he said.

“Just one warning shot to the developers,” added Mr Stevenson, “if Highland Council and the Executive decide nevertheless that they can start building any of these projects they could be told to take the developments back down and to reinstate the landscape if directives have been breached.

“I hope that the developers will see sense.”

The first step of any intervention by the EC would see senior planning officials look at the proposed wind farms projects.

They have been made for Berryburn (Catamount Energy Ltd, consultants Entech Ltd, Glasgow); Cairn Duie: (c/o Renewable Energy Systems Ltd, Glasgow); Dunearn (c/o Gamesa Ltd, Glasgow); Tom nan Clach (Infinergy Ltd) and Glen Kirk (Euros Energy UK Ltd, London) which is the furthest advanced.

Mr Stevenson was joined by Chris Townsend, from the Scottish Mountaineering Council; bird expert Roy Dennis and protestors from the “Save our Dava” group at Thursday lunchtime at historic Lochindorb Castle, to voice their opposition to the plans.

More than 1000 tonnes of concrete would be be needed to provide a foundation for each of the 130 turbines as well as 30 miles of roads and pylons and power lines, protestors have claimed.

Speaking at a public meeting in Grantown’s Ben Mhor held afterwards by the group, bird expert Roy Dennis said that many of the applications by wind farm developers were “cut and paste jobs”.

He said: “What is most worrying is that the Government’s body Scottish Natural Heritage who should decide on the quality of these plans is so overwhelmed that they do not have enough ornithologists to carry out independent assessments.”

He added that Glen Kirk should have a breeding pair of golden eagles and other rare raptors which would have afforded protection to the site.

He continued: “They have been persecuted for decades and none nest there so because of this SNH can not designate these sites.

“Designations tend to go areas where there is least persecution. In my view as an ornithologist that is the wrong way for our government to continue.”

Mr Townsend said: “Once the skyline is broken by massive wind farms Dava’s beauty will be gone; the sense of space that makes it so special will be lost.”

A spokesman for RES Ltd who are behind the Cairn Duie proposal told the press that the likelihood of all five schemes getting the go-ahead was very low and only those that met very exact planning criteria would be approved.

He added that they would be taking into account all comments made in assessing their application.

Lochindorb Castle was visited by Edward I – The Hammer of the Scots – in 1303, when he stayed there for nine days, hunting out on the moor. It was later home to the infamous Wolf of Badenoch, the so-called ‘Celtic Attilla’.

Strathspey & Badenoch Herald

29 August 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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