The representative body for Scotland’s mountaineers has condemed plans which would ruin an iconic landscape in the north of Scotland with wind turbines almost 400 feet high.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) has objected to the proposed Carn Gorm wind farm on the southern slopes of Little Wyvis in Easter Ross.
The MCofS argues that building 14 wind turbines, each 115-metres (377 feet) high to the tips of the blades – that’s 14 structures the height of 30-storey skyscrapers – will cause unacceptable harm to the mountain landscape.
The planning application by PI Renewables, a developer based in the central belt of Scotland, is for a site directly adjacent to the Ben Wyvis Special Landscape Area.
David Gibson, Chief Officer of the MCofS, said: “We’re notopposed to wind farms as such – we have objected to less than five per cent of applications made – but this site simply does not have the capacity to support a wind energy development without unacceptable harm to the mountain landscape.”
The MCofS objection slams the developers for continually downplaying both the individual impact of the proposed development and the cumulative impact.
Mr Gibson continued: “The Ben Wyvis massif is part of the ‘gateway’ for the traveller heading west or east, signalling the transition between the populated inner Moray Firth and Inverness, and the open, lightly populated landscapes of the west. The ill-judged construction of Lochluichart and Corriemoillie wind farms well west of the gateway should be recognised as a mistake and not allowed set a precedent for building at the gateway itself.”
The MCofS points out that hill walking is a substantial contributor to tourism and recreation spend in the Highlands, and it has recently gathered direct evidence to show that mountaineers will avoid areas with wind farms in favour of those without.
Mr Gibson said: “Glimpses of the proposed development would add to the tourist’s impression that the uplands around the Moray Firth, from Morayshire to Caithness are dominated by wind farms. For the active tourist and Scots pursuing landscape-based recreation in the Highlands, the inter visibility of wind farms across a substantial part of the Highlands is removing the sense of spaciousness that is such an important
part of the overall experience.
“What we are seeing in our research is an emerging pattern of responses that will inevitably result in loss of business for Highland tourism operators. It will not just be hill walkers who are disappointed, but those who love wild and open landscapes will also be affected. Such disappointment will inevitably lead to a loss of repeat business, because disappointed customers simply don’t come back.
“We believe that a firm message must be sent by Highland Council to all developers that the whole Ben Wyvis massif is precious and will be protected.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding