Scotland’s mountaineers and hill walkers have condemned a deluge of major wind farm applications which threaten to industrialise large tracts of our most beautiful landscapes.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (the 11,000-strong representative body for Scotland’s mountaineers and hill walkers) has called today on the Scottish Government to immediately establish a nationwide policy to prevent wind farm applications being made in Scotland’s most important and special mountain areas – for example near the Munros and Corbetts which are our highest peaks.
David Gibson, chief officer of the MCofS, said: “The sheer scale and number of recent onshore wind farm applications is staggering. It represents the industrialisation of landscapes that form a uniquely important part of Scottish culture and identity. It is hard to imagine how developers can claim to care for the environment while making applications to build in some of these beautiful and sensitive places.
“During a period of just two weeks in July we were made aware of no fewer than six section 36 (over 50 MW) wind farm planning applications and scoping proposals, between them proposing 235 turbines, up to 150 metres in height, all in largely undeveloped countryside.
“Whilst the visual impact of these developments will be immense, the sheer volume of applications makes a total mockery of the democratic planning process at a time when local authority planning departments face huge costs and overwhelming amounts of work, and while groups which try to ensure fair play in the countryside have their slender resources completely overstretched by the sheer weight of applications.
“One might take the view that developers of major projects are releasing controversial applications in the middle of the holiday season, at a time when those in opposition do not have the resources to respond. For example, three of the recent six section 36 applications came from SSE for proposed developments at Stronelairg, Bhlaraidh and Glencassley.
“We are calling on the Scottish Government to rule out sensitive mountain areas for development – doing so would be a sensible and effective way to help developers and local authorities focus their resources, and ensure that only the most appropriate schemes went ahead after necessary levels of public scrutiny.”
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