Reindeer migration routes could be under threat from wind farms, it has been claimed.
However, the reindeer in question are not in Moray but in Sweden.
The impact of wind farm development on traditional paths followed by the reindeer every year are a major concern in Scandinavia, local planners were told this week.
The effect on tourism is another issue under discussion, members of a Swedish fact-finding mission told Moray Council.
A party of 27 political leaders, planners, academics and reindeer owners met the council on Monday.
They later visited the Paul’s Hill wind farm at Ballindalloch before continuing their three day tour with a visit to the Cairngorms National Park.
The Swedes wanted to hear from Moray planning chiefs how they have dealt with an increasing number of wind farm applications.
Annsofie Andersson, mayor of Östersund, said there was a growing interest in wind farm development in Sweden where, at present, power is largely generated through hydro and nuclear sources, with less than 1% wind power.
The mountainous areas of Sweden have been identified as the best possible locations for wind farms, but that is where there is a lot of tourist activity and reindeer.
“It is the huge infrastructure required for these (wind) turbines that gives us the conflict,” she said.
Östersund is made up of eight municipalities with a combined population of 127,000.
Local architect Harry Westermark said they were keen to hear from Moray counterparts how they dealt with wind farm applications.
At present there are only small scale wind farms in Sweden with fewer than seven turbines, however, a 100 turbine development is being proposed for a former military base.
“We are hoping to learn how people here handle and discuss the wind farms,” said Mr Westermark, “so we can figure out the difficulties and the best way to go forward.”
By Chris Saunderson
6 June 2008
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