The ongoing row over the siting of windfarms on the Scottish mountains has taken a new turn as the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCoS) has argued that the legacy of such installations provides another reason for avoiding such development.
Submitting its argument to the public enquiry on the proposed windfarm at Allt Duine in the Monadhliath Mountains, the organisation has said it is not just the visual impact of the turbines that causes concern, but also the longer-term legacy of steel and concrete.
Chief officer of the body David Gibson stated: “We support green energy generation but this scheme involves dumping 15,500 tonnes of concrete and miles of roads in mountain areas of national importance and beauty.”
He noted that the typical onshore windfarm has a 25-year lifespan and developers RWE nPower have not produced any proposals for the removal of these man-made elements, adding that this would “permanently scar the landscape”.
Those who go walking in the Monadhliath would not be alone in having the view affected by the planned 31 turbines, the organisation argues, but also those well within the Cairngorms National Park that covers part of the range, such as people looking across from the Cairn Gorm ski centre.
One reason for this is that the windfarm comes within 400 metres of the national park boundary, with Mr Gibson noting: “As you might expect we are astonished that the developer has omitted this essential information from their proposal.”
There may be some walkers that support windfarms and will tolerate them on the grounds that such energy is needed and that, ultimately, they have to be sited somewhere. However, the MCoS stated in its submission that it has the backing of 85,000 people firmly opposed to such developments and backing its view that they should not be built among Munros and Corbetts – greatly exceeding its own membership of 11,400.
Walkers enjoying the area as it is now can climb peaks such as the Corbett Carn an Fhreiceadain can enjoy the sight of unspoilt moorland to the north – although the peak itself has a track all the way to the top. But apart from this, the area has no man-made objects bar a fence and a few cairns and trig points.
It now remains to be seen whether this situation remains the case.