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Conservation charity condemns north windfarm plan

Plans to build more than 40 wind turbines in the Ross-shire hills will mar views from Ben Wyvis, upmarket Skibo Castle country club and the Dornoch Firth, a conservation charity has claimed.

Edinburgh-based renewable energy company Wind Energy (Glenmorie) has applied to the Scottish Government to build 43 410ft turbines on hills between Ardross and Ardgay.

It is estimated the development could generate enough electricity to supply around 90,000 homes.

The John Muir Trust, the UK’S leading wild land conservation charity, has lodged an official objection to the planning application claiming it will have an adverse impact on an area of wild land and local landscapes.

Steven Turnbull, policy officer for the John Muir Trust, said yesterday: “The impacts of the windfarm on the landscape would be significant and completely inappropriate for an area of wild land.

“Even though the applicant has acknowledged these impacts, they have offered little evidence to support their decision to proceed regardless. Due to time constraints, we’ve been unable to fully assess the proposal in relation to the impact on blanket bogs and peat land, which are key carbon stores and highly susceptible to damage from inappropriate development.”

Mr Turnbull said figures published by Scottishnatural Heritage indicate that the amount of Scotland visually unaffected by built developmenthas decreased from 41% in 2002 to 28% by 2009, primarily as a result of the construction of windfarms and their associated infrastructure.

“The Glenmorie proposal would further erode the remaining resource and may set a precedent for further similar developments in the area,” he added.