A windfarm planned for the edge of the Cairngorms National Park could be painted a colour to make it less visible, but may require aircraft warning lights, a planning inquiry heard yesterday.
Developer RWE npower renewables has appealed to the Scottish Government to grant consent for the 31-turbine Allt Duine windfarm on the Monadhliath Mountains, near Kincraig, after it was rejected by Highland Council.
A planning inquiry before government reporter Jill Moody started at Aviemore yesterday. Giving evidence, landscape architect Lindsey Guthrie said she had recommended the renewable firm do tests of darker colours for the turbines, which would be up to 410ft high and need several miles of access tracks.
She said: “I recommended to RWE it would be appropriate here to use a slightly darker colour. My recommendation is that there should be some testing done with different colours.” She said a darker colour than standard could reduce the contrast between the turbines and landscape but agreed with a report stating Scottish Natural Heritage had found dull browns and greens not particularly successful. She said all assessments and consultation had been carried out on the basis that the turbines would be the standard grey colour. The inquiry heard the Ministry of Defence want the turbines fitted with lights for the protection of low-flying aircraft.
Miss Guthrie said she did not believe the development would have an adverse effect on the “integrity” of the national park”. Questioned by Marcus Trinick QC, for the developers, regarding fears of an encircling effect from existing and proposed windfarms around the park, she said there were “clear areas” between developments and the differing distances of the windfarms would lessen any such effect. Rod McKenzie, representing Highland Council and the Cairngorm National Park Authority, asked Miss Guthrie how the windfarm would “conserve and enhance” the special qualities of the park, as required by the development plan. She said: this was “challenging” and added “I don’t think it will conserve or enhance them.”
Mr McKenzie said: “If it is challenging, isn’t that a powerful indicator that Allt Duine is badly located?” Miss Guthrie replied: “It’s outwith the park. The turbines are outwith the designated area.”
The inquiry continues today.
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