The Perth-based Mountaineering Council of Scotland has accused the Scottish Government of a “lamentable lack of leadership” in protecting Scotland’s scenic heritage.
In an effort to minimise the impact of renewable energy projects on the countryside, they are appealing directly to the green energy companies to back “no-go areas” for wind farm development.
The MCofS is asking the energy companies to collaborate on plans to protect the most sensitive and precious mountain areas from unsuitable wind turbine projects.
Letters have been sent to companies attending RenewableUK 2012, which gets under way at the SECC today, inviting them to discuss how to harmonise clean energy production with the preservation of Scotland’s natural heritage.
David Gibson, MCofS chief officer, said: “We believe that Scotland could be a pioneer of green energy good practice as well as power generation, but despite this opportunity, the Scottish Government is demonstrating a lamentable lack of leadership.
“Some wind farm proposals are incredibly inappropriate and are leading to the industrialisation of our most beautiful, wild and open mountain landscapes. Right now, as companies gather for RenewableUK 2012, a public inquiry is taking place into the truly dreadful Allt Duine scheme to build 31 immense turbines in the heart of the Monadhliadth Mountains, adjacent to the Cairngorms National Park. We call on the First Minister to use his speech at RenewableUK 2012 to make a stand for Scotland’s natural heritage.
“VisitScotland recognises that badly sited wind farms will drive visitors away, Scottish Natural Heritage bemoans the cumulative impact they can have and 2013 is billed as theYear of Natural Scotland – yet Mr Salmond has done nothing to protect the mountains.”
A Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government agrees that we must protect our magnificent landscapes, and we are already showing leadership in this area. “There are already a number of landscape designations which offer significant protection and we ask local authorities to identify areas requiring significant protection in their development plans. These protections are already working.
“There are no windfarms in our two national parks and Scotland’s planning system provides the protection to ensure wind farm developments do not impact adversely upon our nationally protected landscapes.”
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