Scottish Natural Heritage has delivered a damning verdict on plans for a major windfarm in the Angus glens.
Dr David Bale, area manager for Tayside and Grampian, said the proposed Macritch Hill windfarm would have a significant adverse impact on the Cairngorms National Park.
He said: “The turbines of Macritch would be introduced at distances of around 7km into views that are fundamental to the experience of the Angus Glens and hills such as Dreish and Mayar. The close proximity would heighten the magnitude of change and therefore the significance of effect.”
Developer Eneco UK submitted an application for 18 turbines between Glen Prosen and Glen Isla, each 125 metres, to the Scottish Government in January.
Eneco say the energy produced could supply Scottish Water with up to a third of their annual energy consumption and offset approximately 53,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
The site is approximately six miles north west of Kirriemuir and has been named Macritch Hill after the hill just east of the Scottish Water reservoir.
Mr Bale said: “SNH objects to the Macritch windfarm proposal due to significant adverse impacts on the Cairngorms National Park.
“It would have adverse effects upon the special landscape qualities of the park, in particular those special qualities associated with the southern plateaux within the park, including the summits and ridges of Mayar and Dreish, which are contiguous with the windfarm site outside the park boundary.
“It would significantly affect the quality of visitor experience of those special qualities in key parts of the park where people go specifically to enjoy them as a fundamental part of their experience of the Angus Glens.
“We consider it unlikely that, given the sensitive location of the proposal, its detrimental impacts could be reduced or mitigated to a level where we would remove our objection.”
Sue Smith, spokeswoman for Friends of Backwater and Glen Isla Against Turbines, said that campaigning groups welcomed the robust objection from Scottish Natural Heritage.
She said: “We believe some of the data Eneco has provided is flawed and the application is quite clearly contrary to the Angus Local Plan.
“Apart from noise and water issues, the landscape character of this beautiful area would be destroyed and local habitats of many endangered species threatened.
“The reservoir is a popular and accessible beauty spot which is visited regularly by people from the surrounding towns and cities who are looking for peace and tranquillity in the rural countryside.”
A spokeswoman for Eneco said: “Eneco designed the windfarm enclosed within a human-changed valley landscape well away from protected wild land and not in the expansive setting such as other developments in this area.”
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