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Windfarm map does not show ‘full horror’

This is the map which campaigners say underlines the march of the windfarms across the north of Scotland. But according to them, it does not paint the whole picture.

The image, created by Scottish Natural Heritage, shows there are more than 150 approved and proposed windfarms in the area.

Windfarms in Scotland, July 2011

It appears that clusters of turbines could be created in Aberdeenshire, Caithness and north Sutherland if pending applications are approved. It also indicates that many developers have applied to extend their existing windfarms, or are considering it.

According to the map, there are more than 75 installed or approved windfarms in the north and north-east and a further 43 which are at the planning application stage.

Developers are “scoping” – assessing and evaluating – another 35 developments, including 16 in the Highlands and eight in Aberdeenshire.

But it is understood the map misses out several proposals, including the Druim Ba windfarm at Kiltarlity, which will be decided by ministers.

Scottish and Southern Energy also proposes to build up to 130 turbines in the hills above Loch Ness at Balmacaan but because its proposals are at the investigation stage, they are only shown as a dot close to Invermoriston.

Large areas lie untouched because there is a presumption against development due to the landscape sensitivity.

This includes the Cairngorms National Park, which has also objected to windfarms along its boundaries.

Lyndsey Ward, of the Windfarm Action Group, said the map “does not show the “full horror” of what is proposed. Stuart Young, of the Caithness Windfarm Information Group, said: “The map is absolutely horrifying and shows just how much of Scotland could be covered in windfarms. We used to think we were being picked on in Caithness, but we’re not.”

A Scottish Renewables spokeswoman said Scottish Natural Heritage have a lot of engagement with the renewables industry at every stage of windfarm development.

“This map shows that onshore wind projects are sited away from the most environmentally sensitive areas, designated for their scenic or wildlife value.”