Residents in Monarch of the Glen country facing the prospect of windfarms being built close to their homes claim they will receive no benefit from the massive turbines – as they are not connected to the national grid.
A local councillor claims the fact that local residents would not benefit made the green argument for windfarms invalid.
David Smith, who lives at Moy, close to Creag Meagaidh, said he was flabbergasted to learn of the plans through a newspaper article.
He said: “We would hope if they are putting windfarms up they will give us electricity. But if we do not gain anything from it I will be objecting.”
Mr Smith said there were 11 houses in the area. Although some were derelict, most were occupied or used at weekends as holiday homes. All have generators as they are not connected to the grid.
Local councillor Gregor Rimell said: “If you are making electricity in someone’s backyard but that person still has to make their own, then this shows the green argument for windfarms isn’t valid.”
He added that Kinlochlaggan and the surrounding area were part of the Monarch of the Glen country. He said: “We still benefit from tourists who come to see the wildlife and scenery they do not want to see windfarms.”
Local residents also claim they were not consulted on the new West Highland and Islands Local Plan, which includes the land earmarked for windfarm development.
The Scottish Government’s latest planning framework document confirms that the Monadhliaths – the mountain range that features in Monarch of the Glen – are one of the preferred areas for “major windfarms”.
Mr Rimell said that because of the outcry from residents, a public meeting chaired by him would now take place on April 14 at Newtonmore Village Hall at 7pm, when planning officials would give a presentation on the local plan before a debate was held.
Senior council planner Tim Stott said: “Any energy from windfarms goes straight into the national grid. It cannot be ring-fenced for a local area.”
He added that the sentence in the local plan on Loch Laggan/Loch Erricht and southern Monaliath uplands was a cross-reference from the Highland Renewable Energy Guidelines document which was approved in May 2006.
He said a report recommending whether the local plan should be changed before its adoption was likely to be considered by councillors in August.
21 March 2008
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