The sense of wilderness in Scotland’s largest national park is being harmed by a growing number of wind turbines nearby, planners have warned.
The latest proposal, for a 26-turbine development at Glenkirk, 3.7 miles north of Carrbridge, will be considered today by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), with a recommendation that it lodges an objection.
Eurus Energy is seeking permission from the Scottish Government for the development, earmarked for a triangle of land between the B9009 Forres Road, the Findhorn Gorge and the A9. The project, first mooted in 2006, has been scaled down from 34 turbines and the nearest tower to the park boundary is now just under a mile rather than 380 metres.
CNPA has been asked to comment on the proposal. Planning officer Andrew Tait said the 110-metre turbines would affect the view from the park boundary which runs along the 659-metre summit of Carn Glas.
Mr Tait said: “The national park boundary runs along the ridge immediately south-east of the site. From this ridge the ground slopes down more steeply so the site is at a prominent height above the northern margins of the park.”
He said particular concern was raised regarding views from the northern corries of the Cairngorms and the Craiggowrie to Meall a’ Bhuachaille hill ridge above Glenmore.
The developers have submitted a tourism and recreation impact study which concluded that while the park may experience “moderate to major” negative impact in the area closest to the proposed wind farm, the majority of the park would experience either “no or only minor” impact. It added: “Overall, the Cairngorms National Park is considered to experience a minor and not significant impact from this wind farm.”
But Mr Tait said that plans for a 17-turbine wind farm have since come forward for Tom nan Clach, immediately to the north-east of the Glenkirk site, which CNPA has also objected to.
Mr Tait said: “The outstanding and unique characteristics of the landscape extend beyond the administrative boundaries of the Cairngorms National Park.
“The proposal would lead to an unacceptable degree of adverse visual impact upon the character of the Cairngorms National Park from the Glenkirk proposal itself and cumulatively with other built/consented/proposed wind farms.”
He said visitors came to the area to enjoy the unique character of the environment.
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