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Protests grow over windfarm plans

High-profile campaigns against plans for two controversial Highland windfarms are expected to step up a gear this week ahead of crucial public meetings.

A huge red balloon – a blimp – will be flown next to the site of the Druim Ba windfarm, near Kiltarlity and Abriachan, this morning as councillors visit the area.

Objectors to the scheme, which would see 23 turbines built on the Blairmore Estate, hope the large inflatable will illustrate the 490ft height of the structures to the visitors.

After the trip by members of Highland Council’s Inverness planning application committee, they will decide whether to recommend the application during a meeting at its headquarters in Inverness.

Council planning chiefs have recommended that the plans are refused but the decision has been criticised by developers Druim Ba Sustainable Energy (DBSE).

The renewable energy firm said the windfarm would create up to 55 jobs and £7.7 million of community benefits at a time of public-sector cuts and rising unemployment.

UNIQUE

Meanwhile, mountaineer, writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish has issued a call-to-arms to stop plans for 31 turbines at Allt Duine, on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park.

Councillors are expected to consider the plans during a meeting on November 8 and in preparation campaigners have set up a Save Monadhliath Mountains website.

More than 450 people have signed the online petition at www.savemonadhliathmountains.com since it was set up last week.

Mr McNeish said: “This campaign is not against renewables or onshore wind farms per se. What we vehemently object to is that if this proposal goes ahead, it will adversely affect the wildness and wildlife in the Monadhliath Mountains, threatening the unique character and natural beauty of this area”

RWE npower renewables wants to build the turbines near Kincraig but formal objections have been made by Scottish NaturalHeritage, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the John Muir Trust and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.