A leading member of the Perth-based Mountaineering Council of Scotland yesterday roundly criticised government windfarm policy.
David Gibson, chief officer of MCofS, the representative body for Scotland’s climbers and hill walkers, said: “The Scottish Government is talking up its plans on climate change, and especially offshore wind, while failing to do anythingto sort out the mess its onshore wind policies are making of Scotland’s mountains.
“The government has a sad and bewildering talent for ignoring every opportunity to keep our mountains out of the clutches of the big electricity corporations, which want to boost their profits by industrialising them with vast windfarms.
“We are not opposing onshore windfarms but we want to see all the parties in the Scottish Parliament come together with those who care about our countryside to create a sensible national policy that decides what can be built where.
“This would protect our most important mountain landscapes, while allowing Scotland to become a world leader in green energy generation and good practice.”
MCofS was recently asked to add to a scoping document concerning a new windfarm proposal for land near Aberfeldy.
Plans were tentatively unveiled last week for the Crossburns windfarm, which would see as many as 40 turbines put up above the Highland Perthshire town.
Mr Gibson told the PA that his organisation was also involved in assessing the impact of a further seven turbines being added to the 14-turbine windfarm currently being constructed at Calliachar.
He said: “Both the Calliachar scoping extension and the application for up to 40 turbines next door at Crossburns on the Urlar Estate, in an area defined as sensitive in the PKC spatial strategy, demonstrate the contempt in which landowners and developers hold the local planning process.”
Plans for the Crossburns windfarm show the turbines straddling ground currently forming a section of the Rob Roy Way, popular with walkers.
Responding to the suggestion that this could be a possible area of anxiety to walkers, Mr Gibson said: “Will the Rob Roy Way be rerouted?
“I doubt it but Visitscotland recently objected to a proposed development which was close to the Southern Upland Way so they may well object to this one.
“Are turbines dangerous for people to walk past? Possibly: some recently fell over or lost blades in recent storms and falling ice can also be an issue in the right conditions.”
On the other side of the Big County up to eight giant turbines, each 135m high, could be erected on the 3600-acre Bandirran Estate at Balbeggie.
The plan remains in the formative stages and a 60m test mast could be erected before the full proposal is taken to Perth and Kinross Council planners.
An extensive consultation process has now been started by developers the Banks Group, with members of Burrelton and District Community Council among the first to hear details of the proposals.
Banks Group director Colin Anderson said: “The potential visual impact of the turbines was not presently clear.”
He said it was his intention to give presentations about the scheme to community councils in the Carse of Gowrie.
Questions have been raised about the extent of the area from which the turbines will be visible once constructed. At 135m tall they would be considerably higher than those at Griffin Forest near Aberfeldy and the 109.8m turbines under construction nearby at Calliachar.
MCofS welcomed Tory proposals last week to allow Scottish local authorities to declare a moratorium on new windfarm applications.
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