Campaigners have welcomed their “first major success” in the fight to prevent a giant windfarm being created at Rannoch in Highland Perthshire.
Developers have asked for a six-month delay in the planning process in the wake of huge opposition to the Talladh a Bheithe scheme.
Almost 1,000 formal objections have been made to the application, which would see 24 turbines, each 125m tall, erected amid a network of access tracks.
The landscape is thought by many to be among the nation’s finest, ringed by treasured mountains such as Schiehallion and visible from the West Highland Railway line.
In the face of such strong opposition, Dutch company Eventus BV, through UK subsidiary Talladh a Bheithe Wind Farm Ltd, has been granted time to amend its scheme by Perth and Kinross Council.
Opponents have described the development as a “stab in the heart” of Scotland’s wild land and believe that “fiddling around the edges” cannot not address the plan’s flaws.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS), Keep Rannoch Wild (KRW) and the John Muir Trust (JMT) have renewed their call for the proposal to be abandoned.
David Gibson, MCofS chief officer said: “This scheme is fundamentally wrong and nothing can change that.
“The developers should show respect for Scotland’s people, planning policies, wild lands and wildlife and abandon this harmful proposal now.
“Scotland is succeeding in achieving its renewables targets and this windfarm is unnecessary.
“There is no reason to sacrifice a huge area of wild land with such outstanding landscape qualities just so the landowners and developers can make huge profits.”
Head of policy Helen McDade said: “We do not believe it is acceptable that they are given a six-month extension to improve their application in the light of massive opposition.
“We would call on them to recognise the deep damage their proposal would cause to this iconic part of Scotland and withdraw their application now.”
The developer will require to make its amendments by February, with the application to be considered by the council in May.
“The powerfulcampaign against this misguided proposal is clearly having an impact,” said Douglas Wynn, of KRW.
“We are absolutely committed to carrying on our work to protect Rannoch and ensure that it is never blighted with an industrial windfarm.”
Describing the proposals as “extraordinarily poor”, with “fundamental flaws”, he went on: “Fiddling round the edges will make no difference to a project which a poll showed is opposed by three quarters of residents.
“If the applicants insist on pushing ahead regardless, they will find that opposition will simply get stronger.
“We hope and expect that if the scheme is finally put before planners they will make it clear that it is completely unwelcome and unwanted.”
A spokeswoman for Eventus BV said the delay would enable it to expand upon and add detail to its environmental statement.
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