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Increasing dismay at windfarm

The head of a leading Scottish conservation charity has added his voice to the rising chorus of protest against a proposed windfarm on the slopes of a Highland mountain.

Energy firm Falck Renewables has applied to erect 17 turbines, each 416ft high, on Clach Liath, part of the Ben Wyvis massif.

John Muir Trust chief executive Stuart Brooks yesterday called on Highland Council to reject the development.

He said: “The Clach Liath wind development would scar the sides of a popular Munro in close proximity to Inverness. Wild places such as this should be valued for what they are and not industrialised.

“This windfarm would tower over land designated as a national nature reser ve, and encroach on scenery that has been rightly recognised as a Special Landscape Area. The access route will gouge through the Alt na Caoraich burn – which is a site of specific scientific interest. This industrial energy plant is far too close to our wild land, it jeopardises the natural beauty that sustains jobs associated with tourism. I urge the Highland Council to think about the human impact of risking such an important source of sustainable employment. Ben Wyvis is a famous peak important for wildlife, which is home to at least 2.4% of the breeding Eurasian Dotterel in Britain. So for both ecological and landscape impacts, this is a development in the wrong place.”

Mr Brooks’ announcement comes days af t er mountaineer Cameron McNeish said the plans showed an “absolute disregard” for the recreational and tourism value of the mountain.

Ferintosh Community Council chairman Bruce Morrison claims surveys of the surrounding communities show residents overwhelmingly oppose the development.

A spokeswoman for the windfarm developer said: “This site is an appropriate location. It avoids any areas of specific environmental protection on Ben Wyvis. We have avoided breaking the skyline in the view from Culbokie.”