Highland councillors’ approval of a giant wind park on the banks of Loch Ness will seriously threaten the area’s bid for World Heritage Status, according to a leading wind farm objector.
The Stop Highland Windfarms campaign has urged politicians to acknowledge the economic importance of the iconic attraction which depends on tourism.
Describing the structures as “Loch Ness monsters”, spokeswoman Pat Wells said: “In constrained economic times the accolade of World Heritage Site (WHS) may help to maintain otherwise decreasing numbers of visitors.
“However, the recent recommendation by Highland Council planners and the 11-3 vote by members of the South Highland planning committee not to raise objection to the Stronelairg windfarm proposed for Garrogie Estate near Fort Augustus is another nail, possibly the final one, in the coffin of any prospect of a WHS designation – unless, of course, Scottish Government ministers refuse planning permission.
“If approved this windfarm will be the largest in the Highlands. Increasingly, people who love to visit Scotland for its wonderful scenery are saying they will not be returning and will not encourage others to come to a horribly industrialised countryside.
“As Loch Ness is increasingly surrounded by large wind farm developments WHS will instead come to mean ‘Windfarm Horror Site’.”
Fellow campaigner Lyndsey Ward added: “The systematic destruction of our iconic landscapes with industrial wind turbines, particularly in popular tourist areas like Loch Ness, will no doubt have a detrimental impact on our local businesses and the income of local people.
“It is undeniable that tourists do not come to areas like Loch Ness to view gigantic turbines.
“With Stronelairg and 340 Moray Firth turbines prompting no objection by councillors, it means that over 400 have been waved through to the Scottish Government for a decision.
“The Moray Firth has tourism businesses reliant on whale and dolphin watching – how sustainable is that once the turbines are constructed?”
A total of 140 giant turbines are currently proposed for the Loch Ness area, in addition to 20 already operating at the Millennium scheme in hills north of Invergarry and southwest of Invermoriston and Fort Augustus.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding