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Fears locals in dark on energy plans  

No one objected to wind and wave parks because they did not know about consultation – claim

No one has objected to the prospect of wind and wave parks being built in Monarch of the Glen country in the Highlands because residents are unaware of a consultation which ends tomorrow, according to conservationists.

Responses were sought to the Local Plan which could allow for such projects in and around the Monadhliath mountains, Loch Laggan and Loch Ericht.

The “long-term vision” is part of the Local Plan for Lochaber but not for neighbouring Strathspey and Badenoch, as residents may have expected. Because of Cairngorm National Park arrangements, areas outwith the park are incorporated into neighbouring local plans – in this case Lochaber.

Outdoor expert Cameron McNeish said: “The chances are that those who care about areas like Monarch of the Glen country will never even consider looking at the council’s Lochaber Local Plan.

“Many will have serious concerns about the development of windfarms in the Loch Laggan, Loch Ericht and Monadhliath areas. What are these areas doing in Highland Council’s Local Plan for Lochaber?

“Such a betrayal of these areas to industrial development may only be a long-term vision at this point, but it’s very disturbing.”

Badenoch and Strathspey Liberal Democrat councillor Gregor Rimell said: “We have been campaigning against pylons marching through the glens, but I don’t think that would be half as bad as having windfarms which would destroy the area.”

The Lochaber Local Plan is being renamed the “West Highland and Islands Local Plan”.

The three beauty spots, despite being in the council’s administrative area of Badenoch and Strathspey, are included because they narrowly fall outwith the park boundary.

The document broadly welcomes “investment in evolving technologies which underpin the renewable energy sector, adding value by recycling and harnessing the forces of wind and wave onshore in the Duror-Appin, Loch Laggan-Loch Ericht and southern Monadhliath uplands.”

Senior council planner Tim Stott said the plan had been advertised in newspapers and that 350 objections had been lodged, mainly regarding Fort William, Portree and Kyle of Lochalsh – but none in the Kinlochlaggan area.

“It is part of a vision for development. If people have concerns they are more than welcome to write to us.”

Any objections must be submitted to the planning department at Highland Council’s Glenurquhart Road, Inverness headquarters by 5pm tomorrow. The plan is online at www.highland.gov.uk/whilp

Green energy firm Infinergy envisages 17 turbines, each 360ft, claiming they would generate enough electricity to power 21,800 homes.

Following the consultation, a planning application will be submitted to Highland Council which will then seek the views of statutory consultees before reaching a decision.

The exhibition runs from 5pm to 9pm at Strathdearn Hall, Tomatin. There are further details online at www.tomnanclachwindfarm.co.uk

The Press and Journal

13 March 2008

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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