Plans for 17 turbines in a picturesque part of the Highlands have been branded a “wind farm too far” by campaigners who say it will ruin the landscape.
Residents in Ferintosh say that if Falck Renewables erects 17 turbines, each 416ft high on Clach Liath, part of the revered Ben Wyvis massif, it would dominate the views of the area from the Black Isle, Dingwall, Inverness and beyond.
Ferintosh Community Council claims the Clach Liath proposal will complete an arc of turbines around the mountain with two existing schemes which will dominate the views of Ben Wyvis. A survey has found 93% of those who responded were opposed to the plans, sparking a campaign against the bid.
However, the company behind the development, which would cover 412 hectares and be complete by 2014, insisted the site was a good location for a wind farm.
Bruce Morrison, chairman of Ferintosh Community Council, said two wind farms were already visible from the area – at Novar, which has already been extended, and at Fairburn, which has a proposal for an extension.
He said: “The 100,000 residents of the Inner Moray Firth and tourists are already taking their fair share of loss of amenity in the national interest of supplying renewable energy. The Clach Liath, Ben Wyvis wind farm would totally dominate the landscape. This application will be viewed by many with apprehension if not dismay. It really is a wind farm too far.
“Our argument for excessive cumulative visual impact lies in the existing intrusion of wind farms in the full panorama from our area. With the Novar and Fairburn wind farms already prominent, only the middle section with the Ben Wyvis massif is empty. If granted permission, this proposed wind farm will complete an arc of such developments, surely an excessive accumulation.
“Ben Wyvis has been designated as a Special Landscape Area. An SLA is designed to ‘ensure the landscape is not damaged by inappropriate development’. We believe this development to be wholly inappropriate.”
A spokeswoman for Coriolis Energy, which is seeking planning permission on behalf of Falck, disputed the location was in the designated area. She said: “We feel this site is a good location for a wind farm. It lies outside the designated Special Landscape Area and also avoids any areas with environmental protection.”
l The SNP expressed concern last night at reports that Chancellor George Osborne was planning 25% cuts to subsidies for wind farms and called for an end to the UK Government’s “obsession with nuclear power” at the expense of clean renewable energy sources.
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