A cluster of 13 massive wind turbines could be approved for a Highland wilderness that draws thousands of walkers and cyclists each year.
The Culachy scheme, on a 6,700-acre site by the panoramic Corrieyairack Pass south of Fort Augustus, would feature 490ft-tall towers.
Planning officers are recommending that councillors approve the plan from RES Ltd when they meet in Inverness on Tuesday.
The site is within the Creag Meagaidh Wild Land Area and close to two National Scenic Areas and several Special Landscape Areas. It is also within 12 miles of Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and several Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
According to surveys commissioned by RES for its environmental statement, the area is “potential habitat” for a wide range of rare and protected species including wild cat, red squirrel, otter, water voles and pine marten. Golden eagle, black grouse, merlin and peregrine are known to frequent the area.
It is popular with walkers, climbers and cyclists, many competing in the Corrieyairack Challenge charity events.
The council received just 27 objections to the planning application, among them Fort Augustus and Glenmoriston Community Council. Cumulative impact was among the key concerns.
There are seven other windfarms built or consented nearby – including Stronelairg which is currently in the hands of the Court of Session – and three more under consideration.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland has branded the Culachy scheme “intrusive.”
The turbines would stand near General Wade’s 18th century road which sweeps through the moorland, linking the Great Glen and Badenoch.
The developer, RES, widely consulted with the local community to “sensitively design” a project in an area zoned by Highland Council as suitable for windfarms.
It claims turbines would “increase the profile of the Corrieyairack Pass by making it more accessible.”
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