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Politician joins battle to stop Wyvis turbines

A north politician has backed campaigners trying to stop a windfarm being built on the slopes of Ben Wyvis, claiming it could prove disastrous for both the area and the case for green energy.

But the proposals for 17 turbines – each 416ft high – on Clach Liath might not be decided until next year.

Planners hoped to complete their report in time for a Highland Council committee in November. However, it is understood that the report might be postponed into the new year.

Energy firm Falck Renewables’ plans have been criticised by several groups including top mountaineers Hamish MacInnes and Cameron McNeish. The company has insisted the development will lie outwith the special area for Ben Wyvis.

Charles Kennedy, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said although he was a supporter of green energy, he had to object to Falck’s proposals.

He said: “To build such a development on a mountain of iconic natural beauty, and one which is seen by the community as the pride of Ross-shire, would be disastrous for the public’s feeling towards this much-needed technology.

“Worries about the visual impact of the turbines are not mere sentimentality, this is a matter of local identity and pride.

“I believe that were this development to go ahead, it would do harm not just to the beauty of Ben Wyvis and the community of Ross-shire, but to the cause of green energy self.”

Bruce Morrison, chairman of Ferintosh Community Council, who also objects to the proposals, said: “Our council appreciates Mr Kennedy’s input, which reflects the views of many in our community.

The spectrum of support opposing this project reflects how strong the opposition to it is – in the run-up to the planning meeting.”

But it emerged yesterday that the development might not be considered by members of the north planning application committee until early next year.

Harry Malyon, from Corolis Energy, Falck Renewables” development partner, said: “We feel the site, currently used for agriculture and forestry, is an appropriate location for a windfarm.”