Britain’s two representative bodies for mountaineers have united in their opposition to the building of windfarms on Scotland’s highest mountains.
The Manchester-based British Mountaineering Council today announced its backing for its sister organisation north of the border which is seeking a moratorium on turbine construction on munros and corbetts.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland’s manifesto on onshore windfarms calls for a halt to further developments in the nation’s key upland areas. The document also seeks urgent action to create a Scottish national spatial renewables policy to harmonise clean energy generation with landscape protection.
MCofS chief officer David Gibson welcomed the support of the BMC, which has 75,000 members and represents mountaineers and hillwalkers across England and Wales.
He said: “BMC backing for our manifesto is an important step forward in our campaign to stop big electricity companies exploiting Scotland’s natural heritage for their own profits.
“Climbers and hillwalkers all over Scotland, and the UK, are deeply concerned about the growing number of highly unsuitable planning applications being made to build huge commercial wind farms in Scotland’s most sensitive and beautiful mountain landscapes.
“We are not opposed to wind farms; we are in favour of conserving our mountains.
“We are calling on the Scottish Government to work with those who care about the environment to create a clear policy on what will be permitted and where.
“Current measures, including their new good practice guide, are ineffectual responses to an issue with huge implications for our natural heritage, our wildlife and our tourism industries.”
Dave Turnbull, BMC chief executive said: “Our members and many overseas climbers have always regarded Scotland’s fantastic mountains as an important destination of choice, offering year-round challenges for hill walkers, and climbers
“We are backing the MCofS manifesto because we believe that the mountains must be protected for future generations to enjoy – not just mountaineers but all those who enjoy the landscape.
“The BMC recognises the challenge and dangers of a changing climate and is not opposed to wind energy; far from it. But our wildest landscapes need protection from uncontrolled industrialisation.
“Scotland’s mountains now face an unprecedented threat from an onslaught of windfarm applications. These are bound to have an impact on peoples’ enjoyment of the mountains as many iconic areas are faced with major industrial developments.
“At this stage we may not know what the impact will be on our members’ perception of Scotland as a destination, but there is bound to be some reaction to the prospect of visiting industrialised landscapes.”
The MCofS manifesto also has the support of Scottish organisations the Munro Society, the Cairngorms Campaign and the North East Mountain Trust.