Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has condemned plans to build a wind farm near Loch Rannoch where scenes from the TV adaptation of her hit novel were filmed.
The proposed Talladh a Bheithe wind farm would create 24 125m tall wind turbines and 12.8km of access tracks, buildings and infrastructure between Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht.
The proposal, being put forward by Netherlands-based developer, Eventus BV, has attracted around 1,000 objections and is strongly opposed by groups including the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.
The US-based author, whose opposition to the wind farm proposal comes not just from her love of the landscape but from the expertise she gathered studying for a PhD and then working as a professional ecologist, said: “Light-bulbs need energy; human souls need wildness and beauty. While I appreciate the need for sustainable energy development, I very much oppose such a project on Rannoch Moor.
“While I am a novelist and film consultant, I was in my previous career an ecologist – and in all three of those roles, I’d view the potential loss of Rannoch Moor’s unique wilderness ecosystem as a tragedy, a disaster that would not be worth any amount of extra kilowattage.”
The American launch of Outlander attracted five million viewers and is the biggest single television or film production made in Scotland. The novel has sold 25m copies.
A second series has been announced, which is set to bring £20m into the Scottish economy.
Stars of the series have appeared in a promotional video praising the beauty of the Scottish countryside and describing Loch Rannoch as a favourite location. Rannoch Moor has also been celebrated in books such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped and films such as The 39 Steps and Trainspotting.
The proposal will be debated in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, September 30, following a motion placed before the house by Murdo Fraser MSP – which attracted cross-party support.
David Gibson, Mountaineering Council of Scotland’s Chief Officer, said: “Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels are loved in part because they capture the beauty and wildness of the Highlands.
“The immense success of her TV series shows how much people value our open landscapes and offer further evidence as to why we must not ruin what remains of our wild lands by turning them into industrial zones.
“Such places are at the heart of Scotland’s cultural identity and history, they are essential for our recreation, well-being and enjoyment. And in economic terms they are absolutely vital for our film and tourism industries.
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