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Perthshire wind farm ‘would jeopardise wild land’

The unspoilt status of wild land across Scotland would be “in jeopardy” if a wind farm earmarked for near Loch Rannoch is approved, MSPs heard last night.

Talladh-a-Bheithe Wind Farm, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Eventus BV, has submitted plans to the government to build 24 turbines on wild land in Perthshire between Loch Rannoch and Loch Ericht.

The controversial scheme is opposed by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, the John Muir Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage, which says the proposal could affect “natural heritage interests of national importance”.

Holyrood’s energy committee convener Murdo Fraser warned approving a wind farm in such an area of outstanding natural beauty would lead to a surge in turbines on wild land, during a debate yesterday evening.

The SNP government has heavily promoted renewable energy although 19 per cent of Scotland defined as national parkland or national scenic areas out of bounds to developers.

He said: “The Scottish Government talks tough on protecting wild land and Talladh-a-Bheithe represents their chance to prove it.”

Labour MSP Neil Findlay said a “mismatched” pursuit of renewable energy targets was “turning people against” wind power.

Planning minister Derek Mackay insisted that a potential decision on a site “should not be considered as setting a precedent”.